Open letter to the European Commission
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating effect in countries already affected by other crises, and it is in such places that people have no prospect of getting a first vaccine dose anytime soon. This global emergency can be addressed only if an affordable and effective COVID-19 vaccine is available in every corner of the world.
Protecting people everywhere must be underpinned by political will and a clear moral decision: prioritising lives over profit and suspending intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccine production. Together with other faith-based organisations and networks from Europe and Africa, we call the European Union to support the temporary, emergency COVID-19 WTO waiver of certain intellectual property Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) provisions.
We submitted a letter to EU representatives (Commission President von der Leyen, EEAS High Representative Josep Borrell, Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, EU Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen and EU Commissioner for Health and Food Safety Stella Kyriakides), asking the EU to do everything in its power to contribute to ending this public health emergency.
The letter urged the Commission to prevent intellectual property rules from unnecessarily costing human lives. This is in line with the European Parliament’s position and the position of many of the world’s poorer nations, all of which want the COVID-19 vaccines, which are fundamentally a social product, to benefit everyone, especially the furthest behind.
See also: Directors of Catholic social justice NGOs warn of despairing global inequalities around vaccines distribution, by CIDSE Directors, March 2021