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Equal access to Covid vaccines, treatments, and tests must be assured, says COVI spokesperson Sara Cerdas

Date

26 Oct 2022

Sections

Health & Consumers

The European Parliament’s special Covid-19 committee will exchange views with ministers from the Global South and leading representatives of international health and trade organisations today, and tomorrow.

Ahead of this important debate, the S&Ds call on international partners to recommit to the global initiative, COVAX, intended to guarantee equitable access to Covid vaccines. As a next step, the scope of the Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver must be extended to lift patents for Covid treatments and tests by the December deadline*.

The S&Ds have been leading the calls for the TRIPS waiver for Covid-19 vaccines and other medical products as an indispensable part of a comprehensive vaccine strategy including boosting global production and tackling bottlenecks in the supply chains.

Sara Cerdas MEP, S&D spokesperson on the Covid-19 committee, said:

“Covid-19 is still with us. We call for a strong commitment to continue the COVAX scheme and adapt the vaccine products alongside with the adaptation of the virus. We must move beyond charity and empower more countries to produce their own vaccines and medical products.

“We also call for a clear commitment to finalise the negotiations on extending the TRIPS waiver to therapeutic products and diagnostic equipment by 17 December, which is the deadline for the decision. The waiver is not a silver bullet, but it is a key element of the successful global fight against Covid-19.

“Many low and middle income countries face a lack of supply of Covid-19 therapeutics and diagnostics. Extending the TRIPS waiver could help facilitate access to these products. So we must break the stalemate at the negotiations and reach an agreement within the deadline.”

Note to editors:

*The TRIPS waiver means exempting certain Covid-19 vaccines and potentially other medical products used to treat this disease from trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights under the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) rules.

In June, after difficult negotiations, the WTO finally agreed to temporarily remove intellectual property barriers around patents for Covid-19 vaccines and to postpone the decision on extending the waiver to treatments and tests by six months.

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