News: In the upcoming 12th ministerial conference of WTO, access to vaccine and vaccine viva will be the most contentious issue.
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What has been India’s contribution towards Vaccine equity?
India gifted two lakh doses of COVID-19 vaccine for UN peacekeepers. India provided critical medicines, diagnostic kits, ventilators to more than 150 countries.
India and South Africa also moved a motion at the WTO. In that motion, they asked the WTO Council on TRIPS to provide a waiver of Intellectual Property Rights for vaccine production. This would enable all the countries to domestically manufacturer vaccines. The proposal now has the backing of more than a hundred countries.
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Due to India’s pressure, global supply lines and raw materials have remained open. India has contributed to the COVAX initiative as well.
India’s vaccine Maitri programme, with the premise that no one is safe until everyone is safe, provided vaccines to many developing and least developed countries. India could supply more than 65 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to about a hundred countries.
Further, India is one of the initiators of the “Political Declaration on Equitable Global Access to Covid 19 vaccines”. The declaration treats vaccines as a global public good (GOPG). At present, it has the support of more than 180 UN member states.
What should be the way forward?
It is time for the global community to work collectively and urgently to address the COVID-19 crisis. Implementation of TRIPS was in favour of developing and least developed countries can be a good start in this direction.
Source: This post is based on the article “The pandemic is an opportunity to correct some historical wrongs” published in the PIB on 24th November 2021.