The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is calling on states and pharmaceutical companies to move much faster toward a solution to the glaring inequity in access to COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

This includes accelerating, under the World Trade Organization (WTO) umbrella, negotiations related to intellectual property and other barriers to a rapid scaling up of vaccine production all over the world. In addition, pharmaceutical companies must reach further to share the necessary technology and knowledge — and we call on states to provide them the necessary incentives and support to do so.

“In the middle of the worst pandemic in 100 years, the intellectual property waiver for COVID-19 vaccines is a necessary political commitment to address inequities in access at the scale and speed we need. Millions of lives depend on it and on the equally important transfer of technology and knowledge to increase manufacturing capacity worldwide”, said Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).

We cannot afford to become bogged down in negotiations over the next 6 months. We also call for governments to accelerate the sharing of existing vaccine stocks to ensure a more equitable distribution, particularly in countries that are currently experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases.

As of this month, the poorest 50 countries in the world account for 2% of the doses administered globally. And the richest 50 countries are being vaccinated at a rate that is 27 times higher than the rate of the 50 poorest countries. Africa accounts for 14% of the global population yet accounts for only 1% of administered doses.[1] This is not only morally wrong—it increases risks of more contagious and deadly variants everywhere and puts unnecessary strains on the global economy.

Source: ICRC, IFRC

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