Civil Society Organizations in Africa call for a people’s vaccine

A health worker receives COVID-19 vaccine in Charlottle Maxeke Academic Hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa, March 2, 2021. (Xinhua/Matthew Martin Brink)

Civil Society Organizations in Africa are urging wealthy nations to end the blockade of intellectual property rights to allow formal negotiations at the World Trade Organization. The call comes as governments prepare to meet for another round of talks at the WTO.

In the center are Peter Kamalingin, Director Oxfam Pan Africa Program, and Rachel Mwikali, Convener, Grassroots Human Rights Defenders – Kenya. /Oxfam

Months after India and South Africa made their initial proposal for a waiver on vaccine intellectual property rights, Civil Society Organizations in Africa have added their voice.

Representatives of over twenty CSO’s across Africa have urged the U.S., UK, EU, and the G20 countries to support South Africa and India’s proposal at the next rounds of talks.

Peter Kamalingin, Pan African Program Director, Oxfam International: “We should temporarily waive these rights that the pharmaceutical companies hold on to so that the technologies, the recipes, and the science of producing vaccines can be shared with countries that have the capacity so that we can quickly mass-produce enough and safe vaccines and vaccinate everybody in the world and bring this disease under control.”

This, they say, will allow scale-up in production and ensure Africa’s equitable and affordable access to the desperately needed vaccines.

Jason Bosario, Executive Director, Africa Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD): “We are asking for the countries where these vaccinations have been developed for them to give up intellectual property related to the manufacturing and production of these vaccines and so that they can be produced in a bigger and through economies of scales in other parts of the world and also to effectively roll out the vaccination program across a bigger part of the population including citizens here in Africa.”

The group says a NO vote at the World Trade Organization by any country will be considered a vote in favor of a prolonged pandemic.

The CSO’s urged rich countries to refrain from any action that unduly impacts states’ ability to ensure availability and accessibility of COVID 19 Vaccines.

A report compiled by CGTN’s Daniel Arap Moi