Robinson urges world leaders to waive intellectual property rules for Covid vaccines

covid-vaccine
Robinson Urges World Leaders To Waive Intellectual Property Rules For Covid Vaccines
Former president of Ireland Mary Robinson, © PA Archive/PA Images
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Former president of Ireland and UN Human Rights Commissioner, Mary Robinson has urged EU leaders and US president Joe Biden to waive intellectual property rules surrounding Covid-19 vaccines "to put the collective right to safety for all ahead of everything else".

Known as the TRIPS waiver, it would allow for vaccine production to be scaled up around the world by enabling companies who do not hold the patent to assist in its manufacturing and distribution.

Mr Biden is said to be considering his support of the TRIPS waiver, having received a letter from the People's Vaccine Alliance, signed by Ms Robinson, in addition to many former world leaders, and Nobel Laureates in the fields of medicine and science.

The letter asked Mr Biden to support a proposal made to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) by the South African and Indian governments.

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The proposal called on the WTO to temporarily waive intellectual property rules for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments, claiming that at the current pace of production, most poor nations will be left waiting until at least 2024 to achieve mass immunisation against the virus.

In an op-ed for The Times, Ms Robinson said the TRIPS waiver already has the support of over 100 nations around the world, while some countries in western Europe remain opposed.

"The view among scientists is clear: as long as coronavirus exists in one country, all countries are at risk," Ms Robinson said.

Summarising what needs to be done, Ms Robinson called on EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, German chancellor Angela Merkel, French president Emmanuel Macron, UK prime minister Boris Johnson and "all of Europe's leaders" to "come together to end this pandemic".

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