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G7 leaders must drop opposition to vaccine patent waiver, say campaigners

CAMPAIGNERS called on “hypocritical” Boris Johnson yesterday to agree to a Covid-19 vaccine “patent waiver” to allow faster worldwide manufacture and distribution of the jabs.

It comes ahead of a virtual G7 summit hosted today by Britain, during which the Prime Minister is set to talk about improving access to vaccines in developing countries.

Mr Johnson has called for more manufacturing of vaccines, but campaigners have said that this can only happen if the G7 agreed to drop “opposition to the patent waiver.”

Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden said: “The world is now divided into two — those countries that are rapidly vaccinating their people against Covid-19, and those that have no chance of achieving immunity for several years.

“Johnson is right that we need to ramp up manufacturing around the world, and we encourage Britain to support this effort. But we already have underutilised production capacity.

“The elephant in the room is the patent system.

“While most countries are calling on the WTO (World Trade Organisation) to suspend patents so they can start producing more vaccines now, G7 governments, which have bought huge quantities of the vaccines available, are blocking this solution.

“It’s hypocrisy; they are putting corporate monopolies ahead of the lives of people across the world.”  

Jenny Ottenhoff, senior director for policy at The One Campaign, is urging countries with a “surplus” of coronavirus vaccines to agree a “fast, fair and effective way” to share excess doses when G7 leaders meet today.

The organisation said its analysis has shown that the world’s richest countries were on course to accumulate one billion more doses than they would need to fully vaccinate all their own citizens.

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