Archbishop Ivan Jurkovič, permanent representative of the Holy See to the United Nations (UN) and other international organizations in Geneva, calls for a coordinated rollout of COVID-19 vaccines which ensures that the poor are not left behind.
“Access for all to affordable medicines, tools, vaccines, diagnostics, and treatment for COVID-19 is paramount for a recovery from the crisis. No one should be left behind,” Jurkovič said. (LOOK: Doctors Warn About Side Effects of COVID-19 Vaccine)
The archbishop made the statement during a gathering at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a UN agency with 193 member states that provides a global forum for patents, industrial designs, copyright, and trademark information and services.
‘Patent Rights Should Be Fair’
The archbishop further said that the Holy See supports the work of the organization’s standing committee on patent law. However, he expressed concern that some countries might “hoard” the new vaccines. (Read: What Is ‘Herd Immunity’ and How Can It Beat the Pandemic?)
“As shown by the current pandemic and by the growing and unfortunate tendency, on the part of some states.., the access to affordable medicines and vaccines no longer represents a challenge. [This is] only for the least developed and other developing countries; it has also become an increasingly urgent issue for developed countries,” Jurkovič said. (Read: 5 Countries That Successfully Flattened the COVID-19 Curve)
The archbishop added that the patent rights should be “exercised coherently with the objectives of mutual advantage of patent holders and users of patented medicines, in a manner conducive to social and economic welfare, to a balance of rights and obligations, and at the service of promoting integral human development.”
There are more than 57 vaccines for COVID-19 in the world currently undergoing clinical trials on humans, according to the New York Times. (Read: Duterte Allows FDA to Shorten Approval Time for COVID-19 Vaccine)
The UK became the first Western country to approve a coronavirus vaccine on Dec. 2 by providing an emergency authorization to Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine. Other countries are planing to rollout rounds of vaccinations next year.