Rich countries block COVID-19 vaccines waiver at World Trade Organization - Oxfam reaction

Published: 11th March 2021

In response to calls for a waiver of Trade and Intellectual Property Rules (TRIPS) for COVID-19 vaccines, which is backed by more than 100 mostly developing countries, being blocked again at World Trade Organisation talks by rich countries, Oxfam’s Health Policy Manager, Anna Marriott, said:

“This is a massive missed opportunity to speed up and scale up the production of lifesaving vaccines worldwide by waiving the intellectual property barriers that prevent more qualified manufacturers from joining the effort.

“Rich countries are vaccinating at a rate of one person per second yet are siding with a handful of pharmaceutical corporations in protecting their monopolies against the needs of the majority of developing countries who are struggling to administer a single dose.

“It is unforgivable that while people are literally fighting for breath, rich country governments continue to block what could be a vital breakthrough in ending this pandemic for everyone in rich and poor countries alike.

“During a pandemic that is devastating lives across the planet, governments should be using their powers now, not tomorrow, to remove intellectual property rules and ensure pharmaceutical companies work together to share technology and fix raw material shortages, all of which are standing in the way of a massive scale-up in production.”

Notes to editors

Contact information

Matt Grainger in the UK | | +44-7730680837
Sarah Dransfield in the UK | | +44 (0)7884 114825
Annie Thériault in Peru | | +51 936 307 990

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