Reaction to postponement of WTO talks on vaccines due to concerns over the spread of new South Africa COVID-19 variant

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Responding to the announcement that World Trade Organisation talks on vaccines due to take place in Geneva next week have been postponed due to concerns over the spread of a new variant of COVID-19 which has emerged in South Africa, People’s Vaccine Alliance spokesperson and Oxfam health Policy Manager, Anna Marriott, said:

“The vaccine apartheid that rich countries and the World Trade Organisation have refused to address is ultimately responsible for the decision to postpone these talks.

“It should be a stain on the conscience of those who have blocked the waiver of Intellectual Property that South Africa is now facing the threat of a dangerous new virus variant with less than a quarter of its population fully vaccinated, especially given the fact the country has been so vocal in calling for the waiver which would allow more vaccines to be produced globally.

“There can be no more delays, putting pharmaceutical profits before people’s lives is clearly a risk to us all. We do not need a ministerial summit to agree to this, we just need governments to put the good of humanity above the profits of a handful of companies.”


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