Dear friends, dear interested,
Vaccines are the way out of the Covid-19 pandemic. But despite huge public investments, on a global scale far too little vaccine is being produced so far. While the developed countries will have vaccinated most of their population by the end of 2021, developing countries – often more severely hit by the pandemic – may need years to get enough vaccines to vaccinate their citizens.
However, the world will only recover from the pandemic both economically as well as socially when the virus is beaten on a global scale. Importantly, as long as the virus is not beaten everywhere, new virus variants can and will arise that could infect vaccinated populations as we see with the current South Africa variant.
In such a situation, enforcing patents on Covid-19 vaccines means that not all global production capacity that could be used, is used to make vaccines for the world. Vaccines producers have repeatedly failed to deliver their contractually guaranteed numbers. The knowledge for the cure for a global disease developed with public money must be public, not hidden behind patents.
This is why India as the largest manufacturer of vaccines world-wide has together with other developing and emerging countries submitted a proposal to the World Trade Organisation to waive all patents for Covid-19 vaccines and drugs until global herd immunity is reached. Most developed countries, including the EU and the German government are strongly opposed to this. In the European Parliament, the Greens have consistently called for patent waivers, a demand that has recently found support by the EU Council president Charles Michel.
Against this background, we want to discuss with you and our distinguished guest speakers at our next edition of Europe Calling, this time in cooperation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation.
When? Wednesday, 10 February 2021, 20:00 to 22:00 hrs.
Tahir Amin, British lawyer, co-founder and co-director of the non-governmental organisation Initiative for Medicines, Access and Knowledge (I-MAK). With I-MAK, Tahir Amin advocates for equitable access to medicines worldwide and has long criticised the abuse of patents to make this access more difficult. He has worked as a consultant for the European Patent Office, the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organisation, among others.
Barbara Unmüßig, President of the Heinrich Böll Foundation and responsible on the Board for Latin America, Africa, Asia, the Middle East & North Africa. She is a well-known expert on global gender equality and resource policy.
Julia Reda, an expert on copyright and freedom of communication at the Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte and a Fellow of the Shuttleworth Foundation. Until 2019, Julia was a member of the European Parliament and the Greens/EFA Group.
Together we will discuss how to increase vaccine production worldwide and the role of patents on vaccines in this.
Please, join us and register here: https://gruenlink.de/1xg5
The discussion is open to everyone and simultaneous interpretation into German and English will be provided. Please, also share this invitation with all who might be interested.
Sven Giegold, MEP, Spokesperson of the German Greens in the European Parliament
Barbara Unmüßig, Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung, president