Cabinet Secretary for Tourism and Wildlife Najib Balala has welcomed calls on relaxing of the Covid-19 vaccines patents saying that Africa shouldn’t be left behind in the rolling out of the vaccines under the new dispensation.
This comes after the United States threw its support behind an initiative at the World Trade Organization (WTO) to waive intellectual property protections for coronavirus vaccines.
CS Balala said that the international community should now lobby the big pharmaceutical companies to accept and support the move to facilitate the production and distribution of the vaccines particularly in Africa.
“The production and distribution of the Covid-19 vaccines in as many countries as possible is vital to keep everyone safe in this interconnected global village. No one is safe until everyone is vaccinated and a waiver of patents on Covid-19 vaccines will make the supply chain more efficient. I am glad US President Joe Biden’s administration understands and supports this position,” said CS Balala.
“These extraordinary times and circumstances call for extraordinary measures. The US supports the waiver of intellectual property protections on Covid-19 vaccines to help end the pandemic and we’ll actively participate in the negotiations to make that happen,” the US Trade Representative Ambassador Katherine Tai said.
The CS said the tourism, travel and hospitality industries which have suffered most from the pandemic, desperately require majority of the world population to be vaccinated for them to re-open their businesses with the confidence that visitors will be safe.
India and South Africa proposed the move, which they said would increase vaccine production around the world.
India and South Africa were the leading voices in a group of about 60 countries which for the last six months has been trying to get the patents on vaccines set aside.