GENEVA, Switzerland — The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) called for patent rights to be waived until the end of the coronavirus pandemic so vaccine supplies can be dramatically increased.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says countries with their own vaccine capacity should “start waiving intellectual property rights” as provided in special emergency provisions from the World Trade Organization.
“These provisions are there for use in emergencies,” Tedros said.
“If now is not a time to use them, then when?” He said WHO would be meeting soon with representatives and the industry to identify bottlenecks in production and discuss how to solve them.
Tedros commended AstraZeneca for sharing its COVID-19 vaccine technology with companies, including the Serum Institute of India.
Tedros noted although the UN backed effort known as COVAX has delivered vaccines to more than 20 countries this week, the amounts are only enough to protect about two to three per cent of each country’s population.