104 World Leaders including 18 Nobel Laureates, 32 former Chief of State and Governments, Political Leaders, Artistes, International NGOs and Institutions have signed a call initiated by Yunus Centre to declare COVID-19 Vaccines as a global common good. The unified appeal is urging action from governments, foundations, philanthropists and social businesses to come forward to produce and/or distribute the vaccines all over the world for free. We invite all social, political, and health entities to re-affirm our collective responsibility for the protection of all vulnerable persons without any discrimination whatsoever. As the Covid-19 pandemic is clearly exposing the strength and weaknesses of healthcare systems in every country and highlights the obstacles and inequities in gaining access to healthcare, the effectiveness of the upcoming vaccination campaign will depend on its universality. The signatories are pleading to all world leaders including the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Director General of the World Health Organization, religious leaders, social and moral leaders, leaders of research laboratories and pharmaceutical companies and the media to join hands and ensure that in the case of a Covid-19 vaccine, we have a global consensus that it must be deployed as a global common good. They have also invited everyone to join the pledge at VACCINECOMMONGOOD.ORG. Below is the full petition with names and designations of the signatories
We, the undersigned, make this joint appeal to all the global leaders, international organizations, and governments to adopt legal measures and make official statements declaring COVID-19 vaccines as a Global Common Good, free from any patent right belonging to anyone. The signatories below include Nobel Laureates and Nobel Laureates Organizations, civil society leaders, and world moral leaders from all over the globe.
1. RIGHT TO THE FREE ACCESS TO THE VACCINE FOR ALL
Our right to health can be guaranteed only by our duty to health, both on an individual and collective level. As a priority, there is a need for our conceptual recognition, and actual translation into action, of our responsibilities. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across Mother Earth, there is an explosion of research activities and clinical trials to find cures and vaccines. Indeed, everyone converges on the idea that ultimately the only way to definitively eradicate the pandemic is to have a vaccine that can be administered to all the inhabitants of the planet, urban or rural, men or women, living in rich or poor countries.
The pandemic clearly exposes the strengths and weaknesses of healthcare systems in different countries, as well as the obstacles and inequities of access to healthcare. The effectiveness of the upcoming vaccination campaign will depend on its universality.
Governments, foundations, international financial organizations like the World Bank and the regional development banks should work out details of how to make the vaccines available free of cost.
We appeal to governments, foundations, charity organizations, philanthropist individuals, and social businesses (that is, businesses which are created to solve people's problems without taking any personal profit out of them) to come forward to produce and/or distribute the vaccines all over the world.
We invite all social, political, and health entities to re-affirm our collective responsibility for the protection of all vulnerable persons related to poverty, discrimination, gender, illness, loss of autonomy or functionality, or age.
2. TRANSPARENCY IN DETERMINING FAIR RETURN ON RESEARCH INVESTMENTS
The research for a vaccine is a long process. The estimated time for development of a COVID-19 vaccine is about 18 months or less, which would be an absolute speed record.
This research needs immense economic investments. Many private sector research laboratories who are engaged in the vaccine research will be expecting a return on their investments. We must work out an unambiguous procedure to determine what would be a fair level of this return in exchange for putting the vaccine in the public domain. For this reason, information issued by the private sector, scientists, and authorities, needs to be timely, accurate, clear, complete, and transparent. The research results should be in the public domain, making it available to any production facility that pledges to operate under strict international regulatory supervision and only to such facilities.
3. ACTION PLAN
We urge the World Health Organization to design a World Action Plan on COVID-19 vaccine. We appeal to them to set up an international committee responsible for monitoring the vaccine research and to assure equal access to the vaccine for all countries and all people within a publicly announced pre-determined time frame.
We appeal to all world leaders, Secretary-General of the United Nations, Director General of the World Health Organization, religious leaders, social leaders, moral leaders, leaders of research laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, and media leaders to join hands to ensure that in the case of COVID-19 vaccine we have a global consensus for free universal access, far ahead of its actual production and distribution.