Vaccine access campaigners have accused the Prime Minister of telling a “barefaced lie” by attributing the development of successful vaccines to capitalism in his speech at Conservative Party Conference.
Global Justice Now highlights that the vaccines “were developed by scientists at publicly-funded universities, financed by unprecedented public investment, and rolled out by our remarkable National Health Service”.
Capitalism has allowed “vaccine profiteers” to become billionaires by selling vaccines to rich countries, they say, and Boris Johnson has upheld a system that leaves “millions to die from coronavirus in the global south”.
The development of the Oxford vaccine was 97% publicly funded but was handed over to AstraZeneca with an exclusive patent. The company has since refused to share the technology and knowhow needed to develop the vaccine with the World Health Organisation’s Covid-19 patent pool, known as C-TAP.
Covid-19 vaccines have created at least nine new billionaires, according to research by the People’s Vaccine Alliance.
For more than a year that the UK has blocked attempts to waive intellectual property on Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments at the World Trade Organisation (WTO). A shocking 3.5 million people have died from COVID-19 while the UK has blocked the waiver, averaging 10,000 deaths a day.
Next Tuesday (12 October), campaigners will hold a funeral procession protest on Whitehall, bringing coffins to Downing Street to mark the deaths from Covid-19 around the world, as the WTO’s intellectual property council meets again to discuss the vaccine patent waiver,
Nick Dearden, Director of Global Justice Now, said:“It’s a barefaced lie to say that capitalism is responsible for the development of Covid-19 vaccines. These vaccines were developed by scientists at publicly-funded universities, financed by unprecedented public investment, and rolled out by our remarkable National Health Service.
“Capitalism has allowed vaccine profiteers to become billionaires by privatising this work, selling vaccines almost exclusively to rich countries. And Boris Johnson has upheld this system, preventing low and middle-income countries from producing their own vaccines and leaving millions to die from coronavirus in the global south.”