‘No barriers should stand in way of equitable access to vaccines’

Our Bureau, New Delhi | Updated on May 07, 2021

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation took a U-turn on its earlier statement on Covid-19 vaccine patent protections, and said on Friday that no barriers should stand in the way of equitable access to vaccines.

No barriers should stand in the way of equitable access to vaccines, including intellectual property, which is why we are supportive of a narrow waiver during the pandemic. Those negotiations will occur via the WTO process, led by country negotiators,” said the foundation in a statement.

The statement comes just a few days after Bill Gates said that it was not a good idea to share intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines with developing countries like India.

His remarks drew criticism across the world, even from supporters of his philanthropic efforts. In India, too, activists of Swadeshi Jagran Manch organised online and offline protest against Gates and his Foundation in the national capital against the statement.

However, Gates Foundation CEO, Mark Suzman, supported equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines. “Looking ahead, we are committed to supporting the continued expansion of vaccine manufacturing capacity in countries around the world, including on the African continent. This will not be an immediate fix, but it is important to prepare for future outbreaks,” he said.

Getting vaccines to everyone who needs them is one of the causes Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates have committed their lives to. The Gates Foundation will use its resources to ensure that work continues and succeeds, he said.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been working urgently since January 2020 with a range of partners to help Covid-19 vaccines reach as many people as possible, as quickly as possible. Today, with the surges in India and Brazil, and the lack of vaccines across African countries, it is clear there’s much more to be done, he added.

Published on May 07, 2021

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