SIGN PETITION HERE
Many countries and organizations made calls and appeals to make the COVID-19 vaccine available to the most vulnerable and needy groups around the world based on scientific and ethical standards set by global entities. However, the real situation showed a limited production matched by feverish competition by rich countries to possess the majority, if not all, produced quantities of vaccines. Such competition flouts all scientific, humanitarian, and moral standards, in clear contradiction to those calls made by rich countries at the beginning of the pandemic affirming global solidarity.
Solidarity and shared responsibility are not just slogans raised as an ethical feature in times of prosperity, but rather a practical necessity required by the current epidemiological situation in the context of a global pandemic that does not recognize geographical boundaries. Since the very beginning, this pandemic established that coordination and cooperation of global efforts is the only way out of it.
Vaccines must be considered global benefits that are necessary to save lives. Monopolization of the vaccine by a limited number of countries will lead to the prolongation of the pandemic. It will also result in the continuing moral, health, and economic repercussions of the pandemic on all countries as well as the failure of efforts aimed at its elimination.
These countries must realize that the pandemic will not end until the disease has ended in all countries of the world, whether rich or poor. They should also appreciate that life and the economy will not return to normal until all countries are free of this pandemic. Definitely, none of this will materialize without coordinated cooperative efforts and the access of low-income and poor countries to its fair share of vaccines.
We, at Global Health Development | Eastern Mediterranean Public Health Network (GHD|EMPHNET), are extremely concerned about inequality in the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. We call for humanism to take precedence over economic and social interests in the fair and effective distribution of vaccines. We also call for the companies producing vaccines to assume their social and humanitarian responsibilities towards low-income and poor countries. We call upon Superpowers and multinational pharmaceuticals not to exercise nationalism over vaccines by restricting their exports to the countries and allow poor countries to obtain their fair share of these vaccines. It is unreasonable that more than two months after the start of vaccination in the world, health care workers in poor countries, who are still at the front lines of response have no protection against the disease due to the lack of vaccines in these countries.
To that end, we call for:
- Taking advantage of the manufacturing capabilities of some companies in different countries of the world, including low-income and poor countries, to increase the production of COVID-19 vaccines and make them available to all countries according to good manufacturing practices.
- Urging rich countries not to monopolize or store large quantities of vaccines that exceed their needs to allow the delivery of vaccines to low-income and poor countries.
- Rationalizing the use through a code of conduct that regulates the vaccine use, such as preventing stockpiling or bilateral contracts on quantities that exceed the staging need and postponing mass vaccination campaigns after vaccinating the most at-risk groups.
- Requesting rich countries and vaccine producing countries to allocate 15-20% of their production, purchases, or surplus stocks of vaccines to low-income and poor countries.