We are concerned by the rapidly rising COVID-19 infection rates in many parts of the world, as well as the persistent limitations on access to vaccines, particularly in most African nations. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s global partners report rising casualty rates, often in rural areas where access to health facilities are limited and health statistics are difficult to compile with accuracy. We need a full-scale global vaccine campaign to address the grave threats so many are still facing from the COVID-19 pandemic.
To bolster global vaccination, it is critical that world leaders support a temporary waiver on the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights or “TRIPS” agreement. This agreement requires WTO countries to extend monopoly protections on Covid-19 vaccines, tests, and technology. This one provision blocks other countries and manufacturers from developing Covid-19 vaccines so desperately needed worldwide.
We have the vaccines, the technology, and the know-how to vaccinate the world. What we lack is the political will. Although the US and other wealthy nations have offered to send millions of vaccines abroad, billions are needed to vaccinate the world’s population to avoid additional waves of the virus and more deadly variants like the Delta variant which has now spread widely.
Join us in urging President Biden to take the following key actions:
- Continue to distribute the surplus vaccine doses the United States has purchased to the World Health Organization's COVAX-AMC initiative (for distribution to lower-income countries) and to “hot spots” around the globe, providing additional assistance where necessary to ensure that recipient nations have and can maintain appropriate infrastructure to store and administer vaccines safely.
- Continue to strongly support the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver for vaccine recipes and expand this to include waivers for testing, treatments, and personal protective equipment.
- Launch and invest in a global vaccine manufacturing program of appropriate scale and urgency to end the pandemic.
- Support technology-sharing initiatives such as the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP).
- Encourage the EU and G20 to fully support these efforts.
Over 80 faith-based organizations have issued a letter calling on the Biden administration to take these same key steps. Your message will help amplify the urgent call to address global vaccine inequality.