Amnesty: Vaccine manufacturers ‘fuelling human rights crisis’
Share article:
Share article:

Amnesty: Vaccine manufacturers ‘fuelling human rights crisis’

Photo by Spencer Davis on Unsplash

The manufacturers of the main Covid-19 vaccines are “fuelling an unprecedented human rights crisis” thanks to their policies on intellectual property rights, according to a new report by Amnesty International.

The five vaccines currently in circulation are made by six companies – AstraZeneca, Pfizer, BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna and Novavax. Each one of those companies, Amnesty reports, have failed to meet their human rights responsibilities.

For example, the companies have each to a greater or lesser extent failed to take part in a coordinated initiative to increase the worldwide availability of vaccines and have actively resisted proposals to share technology and lift intellectual property rights on other countries producing their vaccines.

Not only detrimental to countries with less access to vaccines, this attitude jeopardises the global fight against the pandemic. By restricting access to vaccines for swathes of the global population, the likelihood of more resistant coronavirus variants developing in these regions greatly increases: posing a risk to those developed countries where vaccination campaigns have so far been effective.

If labs in less-developed countries were able to produce vaccines locally – and there are scientists perfectly capable of doing so – then local people would be able to be vaccinated. From a purely selfish point of view, any European visiting those countries would then be safer and would be less of a risk when returning home.

But at the moment the sharing of vaccines depends on governments, who can choose whether or not to donate, and how many doses. This distribution model is plainly insufficient to meet global demand.

Vaccinating the world is our only pathway out of this crisis. It should be time to hail these companies, who created vaccines so quickly, as heroes,” said Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s secretary-general.

But instead, to their shame and our collective grief, Big Pharma’s intentional blocking of knowledge transfer and their wheeling and dealing in favour of wealthy states has brewed an utterly predictable and devastating vaccine scarcity for so many others.”

In figures:

  • Out of 5.76 billion doses administered worldwide, 0.3% have gone to low-income countries, with over 79% going to upper-middle and high-income countries.
  • Just three of the six companies – BioNTech, Moderna and Pfizer – are expected to make $130 billion (€110.9 billion) combined by the end of 2022.
  • Moderna has not yet delivered a single vaccine dose to a low-income country, has provided just 12% of its vaccines to lower-middle income countries, and will not deliver the vast majority of its orders for COVAX until 2022.
  • Pfizer and BioNTech have delivered nine times more vaccines to Sweden alone than to all low-income countries combined – less than 1% of their production so far.
  • High prices mean the companies are set to earn over $86 billion in revenues by the end of 2022.
  • The publication of the report also marks the start of a new Amnesty campaign.

Today marks 100 days until the end of the year,” Callamard said.

We’re calling on states and pharmaceutical companies to drastically change course and to do everything needed to deliver two billion vaccines to low and lower-middle income countries starting now. No one should spend another year suffering and living in fear.”

Latest news

Non-urgent care once again postponed in some hospitals
As the worsening coronavirus situation in Belgium is starting to take its toll on hospitals, it has been confirmed non-urgent care will once again be ...
Brussels Airport warns autumn holidaymakers to arrive early
Passengers leaving from Brussels Airport this autumn have been advised to factor in extra time to account for longer than normal check-in times and ...
27,000 Belgian taxpayers to pay more after incorrect tax break
About 27,000 taxpayers who wrongly received a tax reduction in the last three years due to an error by the tax administration will have to pay what ...
Wallonia launches first major survey for cyclist satisfaction
Following in the footsteps of France and Flanders, the Wallonia Region of Belgium is launching its first major satisfaction survey on municipal ...
After 5 rescues in 2 days, hundreds of migrants take shelter in Italy
After five rescues in less than two days, almost 400 migrants aboard the Geo Barents search and rescue ship in the Central Mediterranean, operated by ...
Belgian wind farm closed down to save migrants floating in sea
A wind farm near Zeebrugge had to be shut down on Wednesday morning as more than 25 migrants had been adrift in its vicinity off the Belgian coast ...
Cinemas will require Covid Safe Ticket from Friday
The Covid Safe Ticket (CST) will be required to attend cinemas across Belgium from Friday, which marks the start of the autumn holidays, the ...
Strong warnings issued ahead of climate change summit
New and updated climate commitments fall far short of what is needed to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, leaving the world on track for a ...
Disastrous year for Belgian beekeepers
Belgian beekeepers have experienced a disastrous year, with honey production 50 to 60 percent lower than last year due to heavy rainfall during ...
New measures for schools considered as situation becomes ‘untenable’
Belgium's various education partners met on Wednesday to discuss additional measures to implement in schools as the coronavirus situation worsens in ...
Belgium in Brief: Back To Masks
I really hope you didn't throw out all your masks. You'll be needing them again. Now I do appreciate that this isn't a huge change for ...
Belgium a climate slowcoach as EU reveals emissions progress
The European Union is on track to pass its first big climate test, according to new figures published this week. But Belgium has been singled out for ...