Wealthy countries are vaccinating one person every second against the coronavirus but the majority of developing nations haven’t started at all, a watchdog group of humanitarian organizations said.
The People’s Vaccine Alliance says rich nations are preventing efforts by indigent countries to waive intellectual property rights on the coronavirus vaccines, CNN reported.
The waiver would take away legal barriers and allow manufacturers worldwide to start producing vaccines at scale within months, the alliance says.
The World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) committee was scheduled to meet Wednesday to discuss the waiver, CNN reported.
Muhammad Yunus, a professor and one of the alliance leaders, denounced wealthy nations for working against their poorer counterparts in seeking the waiver.
“We should act now,” Yunus said, CNN reported. “There is no going back. It is totally unfair that rich countries, who have enough vaccines to protect their citizens, are blocking the TRIPS waiver, which could help poorer countries get the vaccines they need. For the rich world, this proposed act of human solidarity to ensure that medicines and vaccines get to the whole human family simultaneously is in their own self-interest, not just an act of charity.”