Hundreds of faith and humanitarian groups say intellectual property rule should be waived
by Rich Copley | Presbyterian News Service
LEXINGTON, Kentucky — The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Office of Public Witness (OPW) is joining more than 400 faith, human rights, civil society, and labor organizations in calling on the administration of President Joe Biden to join a global movement to make COVID-19 vaccines more widely available around the world.
The groups are calling on Biden to reverse the Trump administration’s opposition to a waiver of World Trade Organization intellectual property rules so that vaccines, treatments and diagnostic tests can be more broadly produced and distributed, particularly in developing nations.
“The pandemic cannot be stopped anywhere unless vaccines, tests, and treatments are available everywhere so variants that evade current vaccines do not develop,” a news release announcing a Feb. 26 press conference said.
“Our faith requires us to ensure that those who are in most need are taken care of,” said Catherine Gordon, OPW’s Associate for International Issues. “The U.S. and other wealthy nations have bought up vaccines in short supply that more than cover their populations, leaving struggling developing nations on their own.
“Leaving the distribution of the vaccine up to the market where the poor are left behind is not only unchristian, it is unwise. In order for poorer countries to develop their own vaccines, the WTO must issue a waiver on their intellectual property rules,” Gordon said. “We must support the lives of all.”
More than 100 nations support a waiver to allow production of COVID-related vaccines and treatments around the world at facilities that have capacity to make and distribute them. But the Trump administration led a small group of nations in opposition to the waiver. According to the release, the Biden administration has not reversed that position.
Friday’s announcement will include U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Illinois) and representatives from the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA, Partners In Health, NETWORK Lobby for Catholic Social Justice, Oxfam America, Doctors Without Borders, Human Rights Watch, Health GAP and Public Citizen.
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Categories: Advocacy & Social Justice, Peace & Justice
Tags: association of flight attendants-cwa, catherine gordon, compassion peace & justice, covid-19 vaccine, doctors without borders, health gap, human rights watch, network lobby for catholic social justice, office of public witness, oxfam america, pandemic, partners in health, president joe biden, public citizen, trump administration, U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, united church of christ, united methodist chuch, world trade organization
Ministries: Compassion, Peace and Justice, Office of Public Witness