Case for global vaccine making EDITORIAL COMMENT| Business Day |15 March 2021
“Last week, Western nations blocked proposals from SA and India to waive typical intellectual property rules for Covid19 shots, treatments and other measures until the world reaches herd immunity. It was the eighth time the issue was discussed at the WTO.” – Editorial Comment Business Day (15 March 2021)
“The government has ordered 43-million doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Pfizer and the global vaccine financing facility Covax, but it has no control over potential manufacturing delays even as the government cannot escape the blame that it let South Africans down by dragging its feet when other countries, including our emerging market peers, pre-ordered the vaccines in 2020.
“While it’s hard to dispute the assertion that patent protections were behind the development of the vaccine at a record pace, and that taking that away could potentially stifle innovation, it is clear that manufacturing the vaccine needs to be scaled up. As suggested by WTO head Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, there’s a ‘third way’ to resolve the issue in which Big Pharma can licence manufacturing to other countries to ensure adequate supplies.”