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India and South Africa demand Access for Everyone, Everywhere

India and South Africa are demanding the same thing we are: a vaccine for everyone.

As we get (hopefully) closer to a safe and effective vaccine, conversations about “intellectual property” rights and access to the COVID-19 vaccine around the world continue to fill the news. Whether you are taking part in the Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign or cheering on from the sidelines, experiencing the dilemmas and distrust that plague the world of vaccine nationalism can be disheartening.

From grueling statistics about the global mortality rate of COVID-19 to international conflicts, it can be exhausting to keep up with everything that is happening in the world– so we are here to do what we do. Give you some good (and hopeful) news. 

It is always encouraging to hear of other entities who are pushing for the same cause that we are. After all, what we are asking for is simple: a vaccine funded by the people should be available to all people, everyone and everywhere. Especially given the scale of the pandemic and its disproportionate burden on low- and middle- income countries (LMICs,) it is important that we advocate for their access rights in addition to the right to access a COVID-19 vaccine. India and South Africa reached out to The World Trade Organization, a supranational organization that deals with international trade, to demand that monopolies don’t not stand in the way of access in LMICs. 

We won’t take you through all the details, but point #3 states: 

“Given this present context of global emergency, it is important for WTO Members to work together to ensure that intellectual property rights such as patents, industrial designs, copyright and protection of undisclosed information do not create barriers to the timely access to affordable medical products including vaccines and medicines.”

If you are interested in reading more, access the whole document from the World Trade Organization here

Around the world, there is a call for solidarity and support. You can see the importance of our work at Free the Vaccine for COVID-19– fighting for a People’s Vaccine everywhere is the only way to make sure that we can truly mitigate the effects of this pandemic. Keep educating yourself– use your voice and your art and your platform to demand a People’s Vaccine with us.

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