ISLAMABAD: World leaders past and present insisted on Thursday that any eventual Covid-19 vaccines and treatments should be made available to everyone free of charge. Prime Minister Imran Khan was among more than 140 signatories of a letter saying any vaccine should not be patented while the science should be shared among nations.
The World Health Assembly, the policy-setting body of the UN’s World Health Organisation (WHO), holds its annual general meeting next week. The signatories called on the WHA to rally behind the cause.“Governments and international partners must unite around a global guarantee which ensures that, when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge,” the letter said. “The same applies to all treatments, diagnostics, and other technologies for COVID-19.”
The letter was signed by Senegalese President Macky Sall and Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo.
Former presidents and prime ministers among the signatories included Shaukat Aziz, Jan Peter Balkenende, Jose Manuel Barroso, Gordon Brown, Helen Clark, Felipe Gonzalez, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Mary McAleese, Olusegun Obasanjo and Juan Manuel Santos.
The letter comes amid fury in France after French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi said it would reserve the first shipments of any Covid-19 vaccine for the United States. The multinational’s chief executive Paul Hudson said the United States would get first dibs because its government was helping to fund the vaccine research.