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Organisation claims rich countries have snapped up 82% of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine

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Organisation claims rich countries have snapped up 82% of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine

Photo by Bloomberg

12th November 2020

By: African News Agency

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More than 80% of pharmaceutical corporation Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine candidate has been sold to the richest governments across the world, according to Global Justice Now.

This comes after Pfizer and BioNTech on Monday announced that their potential Covid-19 vaccine was found to be more than 90% effective in preventing infections.

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UK-based campaign Global Justice Now in a statement on Wednesday said more than one billion doses have already been sold to rich governments, or 82% of the 1.35-billion doses Pfizer said it has the capacity to produce by the end of next year.

According to Global Justice Now, the purchasers include the European Union with 200-million doses and an option for a further 100-million, the UK with 40-million and the US with 100-million and an option to buy another 500-million.

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However, the countries that have secured advance supplies of the Pfizer vaccine represent just 14% of the global population, Global Justice Now lamented.

“Pfizer is likely to offer some doses to developing countries in the coming weeks through the global Covax facility, but these are likely to represent a small fraction of the vaccines produced. While rich countries, including the UK, have joined international efforts to ensure fair distribution, they have undermined these schemes by mass purchases of the vaccine doses outside of the scheme,” the organisation said.

Campaigners claim the situation is exacerbated by the failure of these same rich governments to heed calls to suspend global patent rules and encourage countries everywhere to manufacture generic versions of Covid-19 treatments and vaccines.

The director of Global Justice Now, Nick Dearden, said: “On the one hand, the British government is helping limit supply of these drugs by insisting on global patent rules that prevent countries producing their own generic vaccines. On the other, it is buying up as much of that limited supply as it can, so there are no vaccines left for developing countries.

“You couldn’t get a clearer example of how unequal the pharmaceutical system is: some make billions of pounds, while many others die because they cannot afford treatments or there are no more left for them to buy. It’s got to change.

“Pfizer claims not to have had any state support, but the advance purchase of a billion doses of an unproven drug, not to mention the tax breaks and direct public funding of Pfizer’s partner, suggests their claim is misleading at best. Unless we break the stranglehold of these massive corporations over our medicines, the injustice will continue.

“It is imperative that we end vaccine nationalism and that sufficient supply is made available to all, on a fair basis, as a matter of urgency. That can be helped by supporting governments like South Africa and India, who are trying to suspend intellectual property rules at the WTO (World Trade Organization) during this global emergency,” Dearden.

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