BY VANESSA GONYE
BUSINESSES and pharmaceutical companies have been urged to reduce COVID-19 deaths through issuing patent rights waivers for vaccines to ensure their accessibility and availability in poor countries like Zimbabwe.
This was said yesterday by ZimRights in a statement to mark the World Intellectual Property Day.
The rights watchdog also lamented the plight of African countries where vaccines against the respiratory disease are not adequately available as a result of poverty and issues of intellectual property rights that threaten the right to health and life.
“Today, the world is witnessing a monumental moral failure as a wide variety of vaccines flood rich countries while the developing world is forced to depend on handouts of vaccines whose efficacy is still in doubt.
“It is this desire to save lives that ZimRights with other partners under the #PeoplesVaccineCampaign is calling on pharmaceutical corporations to waive patents for the much-needed COVID-19 vaccinations. ZimRights calls on world leaders to ensure that the widening gap of vaccine access between developing countries and the developed countries is closed,” ZimRights said.
“This can be done through waiving patent rights for COVID-19 vaccines and increasing funding for procurement, science, research, and awareness programmes related to COVID-19.
“As we have noted before, no one is safe from COVID-19 until all of us are safe. Beyond our interconnectedness as a society, our moral conscience as a rights-respecting society demands that we take extraordinary measures to combat the raging vaccine apartheid.”
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ZimRights also expressed concern over the imbalances associated with the distribution of vaccines in times of a crisis, saying the world needs to reach an agreement that during times of humanitarian crises, profit-making should be balanced with the need to preserve lives.
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