Thursday, October 28, 2021

Amnesty report: Drugmakers do little to offer COVID-19 vaccines to poor countries

Amnesty International is accusing the world’s major pharmaceutical companies of creating an “unprecedented human rights crisis” by failing to provide enough COVID-19 vaccines for the world’s poorest countries.

In a report released Wednesday, the human rights advocacy group says AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer and BioNTech’s partnerships are “fulfilling their human rights responsibilities” by participating in the global vaccine sharing initiative and refusing to share vaccines. failed”. technology by waiving their intellectual property rights.

Amnesty says that of the 5.76 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines distributed around the world, only a “modest” 0.3% went to low-income countries, while 79% went to upper-middle and high-income countries Huh. It says inequality is “pushing weak health systems to the very brink and causing thousands of preventable deaths every week,” particularly in parts of Latin America, Africa and Asia.

The organization says that Pfizer, BioNTech and Moderna alone are set to make $130 billion by the end of 2022.

“Profits should never come before life,” said Agnes Callamard, secretary general of Amnesty International.

Amnesty is calling on governments and pharmaceutical companies to immediately distribute 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to low- and lower-middle-income countries to meet the World Health Organization’s goal of providing 40% of the population of such countries. Aim to get vaccinated by the end of the year. .

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COVID summit

The report was released ahead of US President Joe Biden’s virtual COVID summit held in conjunction with this week’s UN General Assembly. Biden is expected to announce a global vaccination target of 70% with additional purchases of 500 million doses of the two-shot Pfizer vaccine, bringing the United States’ total donation to more than 1.1 billion.

“America is committed to beating COVID-19. Today, the United States is doubling our global total of donated vaccines to more than 1.1 billion. US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Twitter on Wednesday, “We are donating three shots globally for every shot we have in the US military to date.”

extreme poverty

The Asian Development Bank says the prospect of the pandemic pushed 80 million people into extreme poverty in developing countries in Asia last year. A report released Tuesday by the Manila-based body said the region’s developing economies are likely to grow at a slower pace in 2021 due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the slowing of vaccination efforts.

The ADB is forecasting Southeast Asian economies to grow only 3.1 percent this year, lower than the 4.4 percent rate forecast in its economic outlook in April.

Some information for this report has been obtained from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France Press (AFP).

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