The Boston Globe [full text]
LETTERS: COVID vaccine makers must relent on intellectual property rights and see to the world's needs
Updated May 1, 2021, 2:30 a.m.
This is the people’s vaccine — share it widely
Michael Rosenblatt’s April 24 op-ed, “The downside of suspending intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines,” neglects certain details:
▪ Taxpayer dollars substantially funded the mRNA research being used.
▪ Taxpayer dollars assumed the financial risk for enabling rapid production of any successful vaccine candidates.
▪ Taxpayer dollars are funding the COVAX program; however, high income-countries have pre-ordered most of the actual vaccines.
Rosenblatt writes that “the system that gave us these shots depends entirely on strong intellectual property rights. These same protections will be critical when we face the next pandemic.”
With the next pandemic, the world will be far safer when vaccines can be produced everywhere because the infrastructure will have been created. One of the lessons from the HIV and Ebola pandemics is that systems created then have enabled the Global South to quickly and effectively tamp down this pandemic.
This is the people’s vaccine, and we must share it widely.
As Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization, recently said, “In combination with proven public health measures, we have all the tools to tame this pandemic everywhere in a matter of months. It comes down to a simple choice: to share or not to share. Whether or not we do is not a test of science, financial muscle, or industrial prowess; it’s a test of character.”
Dr. Leslye Heilig