Reaction: World Health Assembly vaccine agreement not fit for purpose, warns Oxfam

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Commenting on a draft resolution that is expected to be agreed by Health Ministers at the World Health Assembly this evening, Anna Marriott, Health Policy Manager at Oxfam said:

“The agreement on the table is simply not fit for purpose. It does little to remove the barriers standing in the way of ensuring a coronavirus vaccine is available for all.

“Although ministers have resisted attempts by the Trump Administration to torpedo an agreement, they have done nothing to compel the pharmaceutical industry to share vaccines, treatments and tests so that any nation can quickly manufacture or import affordable versions. Steps to increase global production and distribution capacity are not enough.

“This World Health Assembly must not be the final word on this issue. Momentum is gathering for a  vaccine that is patent-free, mass produced, distributed fairly, and provided free of charge to every individual, in every nation.”


Notes to editors:

Oxfam has seen the near final draft of the World Health Assembly resolution that is expected to be agreed by Health Ministers at the World Health Assembly this evening. The resolution supports the use of existing global trade rules to override corporate patent rights in the interest of public health, and tasks the World Health Organisation to come up with options for scaling up global manufacturing and distribution capacity for vaccines, tests and treatments.

However, despite acknowledging that vaccines, treatments and tests are global public goods, it does not require pharmaceutical corporations to pool their patents – a process which would enable anyone with the means to manufacture or import affordable copies – and it does not guarantee that vaccines, treatments and tests will be made available to individuals free of charge.

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