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Article

Opinion: Corporate monopolies on Covid-19 vaccines causing avoidable deaths in poor countries

"Monopolies on Covid vaccines are killing people in poorer countries"

...When South Africa and India proposed a waiver of pharmaceutical monopolies at the WTO in October 2020, it was to avoid exactly the situation we’re now in. Vaccines are in short supply owing to corporate monopolies that restrict who can make them, while existing supplies have been largely bought up by rich countries. The resulting global shortage is leading to deaths in poor countries that were wholly avoidable. Every rich country was initially against the waiver when it was first proposed, including the US government, then led by President Trump.

Never mind that a majority of the world’s population wanted the waiver. As long as rich countries opposed it, the WTO – which works on a consensus model in which every single member country must agree for a proposal to move forward – could not even begin discussing it. Never mind too that vaccinating more people everywhere is also good for people in rich countries. The less virus circulating, the lower its chances to mutate or evolve.