Mike Noyes, Deputy Director of Humanitarian Response at ActionAid UK says:
“The UK Government must step up like the Biden-Harris Administration has done and support the waiving of intellectual property rights on Covid-19 vaccines. The catastrophic surge of cases and deaths in India are clear to see, and other countries in Latin America and Africa are now facing second and third waves of the pandemic, devastating the lives of millions of the world’s poorest people – with women and girls disproportionately affected.
“Without a TRIPS waiver, current initiatives to distribute vaccines such as the COVAX program are not enough to meet the urgent need. Projections indicate that it will be 2023-24 before everyone who needs a vaccine will receive one.
“Women and girls are at the coalface of Covid-19 impacts. As well as the surge in domestic violence, sexual exploitation and child marriage due to lockdowns and schools being closed, women also make up the majority of the informal sector in developing countries and many are now facing increased economic precarity and struggling to make ends meet. If the pandemic is not halted, women and girls will face even greater losses for years to come.
“The EU has also made it clear that its open to discussing the waiver and as host of both the G7 and COP26, all eyes will be on the UK for its response to this pandemic. The Government has an obligation to show global leadership by supporting a waiver and urging other countries to do the same. We must learn the painful lessons from dealing with diseases such as HIV/AIDS and unequal access. A free vaccine for everyone – no matter where they live – is the right thing to do and is the only way to end Covid-19 for good.”
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Notes to editors
ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty. Our dedicated local staff are changing the world with women and girls. We are ending violence and fighting poverty so that all women, everywhere, can create the future they want.