Bolivia and coalition of Communist and workers' parties are calling for ending vaccine patent rights
A coalition of Communist and workers' parties released a joint statement April 16 calling for the "abolition of the so-called intellectual property rights, namely patents, on all COVID-19 vaccines and treatment formulations used or being developed, as well as necessary legal regulations for this in all countries." This comes as Bolivia has " launched an international campaign for the patent release of COVID-19 vaccines so that worldwide nations have equitable access to the drugs."
Bolivia's initiative "aims to facilitate access to COVID-19 vaccines for the poorest countries" to counter what has been described as a situation of "vaccine apartheid" internationally. Prabir Purkayastha in People's Dispatch notes that:
With an eighth of the world population, the rich countries—the US, Canada, UK, and the EU—have received more than 50% of the world’s vaccine doses. The US alone has received 147 million vaccine jabs (up to 30 March 2021). This is more than 14 times what the entire continent of Africa—with four times the US population—has received.
The Bolivian initiative will be presented April 21 in Andorra at the Ibero-American Summit.
Meanwhile a grouping of Communist and workers' parties that includes the Communist parties of Turkey, Greece, Norway, Portugal, Bohemia and Moravia, Ukraine, the Palestinian People's Party and others are jointly calling for:
The abolition of the so-called intellectual property rights, namely patents, on all COVID-19 vaccines and treatment formulations used or being developed, as well as necessary legal regulations for this in all countries.
Production, distribution and implementation of vaccines must continue entirely by public means and the intensification of popular intervention. Public health system has to be immediately expanded and strengthened.
We denounce speculation on vaccines. All information on vaccines and treatment formulations should be presented transparently to international scientific organizations. Research in this field should be carried out with the principle of international solidarity and cooperation, not competition
Anti-vaccine campaigns and unscientific disinformation must be decisively addressed.
Their statement notes that "Patents or intellectual property rights have had an impact not facilitating the production of vaccines as argued, on the contrary, they slowed down the immunization of masses" and:
Several vaccines that have been administered since the end of 2020 are developed by pharmaceutical monopolies. There is a substantial level of information on the clinical efficacy and dose intervals of these vaccines. Despite some of them being administered cautiously due to some adverse effects, they can effectively contribute to tackling the pandemic. However, since the administration of the first shot, only around 2.16% of the world’s population could have been fully vaccinated.
The main method of combating communicable diseases is widespread, rapid and effective immunization. Unfortunately, capitalism in the 21st century has been incapable of implementing this basic formula for a worldwide infection, as seen in the COVID-19 pandemic. The reasons for this situation are clear: Despite all vaccine development studies having been conducted thanks to public funds and the collaborative efforts of thousands of scientists, in the great capitalist powers the final product was seized by pharmaceutical monopolies under the name of intellectual property, or so-called patents.