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HOME  > Past issues  > 2020 August 12 - 18  > Vaccines against COVID-19 must be developed as 'a public good'
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2020 August 12 - 18 TOP3 [POLITICS]

Vaccines against COVID-19 must be developed as 'a public good'

August 16, 2020

Akahata editorial (excerpts)

COVID-19 vaccines are now under development in many countries. The vaccines must be safe, effective, and not too expensive or too difficult for all countries to have access to. If vaccine supplies are available to only a handful of countries, they will not save mankind from the coronavirus pandemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) at its annual assembly in May of this year adopted a resolution calling for "equitable access to and 'fair distribution' of all quality, safe, efficacious and affordable essential health technologies and products in response to the COVID-19 pandemic".

The United States, however, despite agreeing to the resolution in the assembly, submitted a document arguing against "fair distribution" as called for in the resolution and chose to prioritize intellectual property rights of large pharmaceutical companies over the world's public good. Then, the U.S. Trump administration formally announced its withdrawal from the WHO.

The right to health is one of the fundamental human rights stipulated in international treaties. The UN International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states that everyone has the right to enjoy the "highest attainable standard of physical and mental health". Pharmaceuticals not affordable for all countries or monopolized by only some countries cannot eliminate preventable deaths, and this must be avoided.

Vaccine supplies must not be left to free market mechanisms. International cooperation is vital for vaccines to save mankind from the new virus.

Past related article:
> Shii: International society is tested on its ability to overcome COVID-19 crisis through solidarity and cooperation [May 18, 2020]

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