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Covid-19: One year since call for vaccine tech to be shared

On 2 October 2020 South Africa and India called for life-saving vaccines to be patent-free UK, Norway, Switzerland and EU continue to block the move At the current rate, it could take poorest countries another 50 years to vaccinate their populations ‘Greed is triumphing over human life and human rights’ - Agnès Callamard Ahead of the one-year anniversary of South Africa and India’s call for a TRIPS waiver for Covid-19 vaccines on 2 October, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, Agnès Callamard, said: “Since India and South Africa called for a TRIPS waiver one year ago, a staggering 3.5

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Global: States must deliver surplus Covid-19 vaccines now

In response to today’s Global Covid-19 Summit: Ending the Pandemic and Building Back Better, where US President Biden and EU President Von der Leyen announced new commitments to donate an additional 900 million vaccines to low and lower-middle income countries by September 2022, Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said: “Fair access to Covid-19 vaccines across the world is our only pathway out of this crisis, so we welcome the news that the USA and the EU have committed to new targets in the fight against this pandemic. “Ensuring everyone in all countries, rich and poor

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Covid-19: Big Pharma fuelling unprecedented human rights crisis - New Report

Female scientist in laboratory researches Covid vaccine, using a pipette and test tube
Amnesty is calling upon countries to urgently redistribute hundreds of millions of excess vaccine doses currently sitting idle

AstraZeneca, BioNTech, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Novavax and Pfizer refuse to participate in initiatives to boost global vaccine supply Fewer than 1% of people in low-income countries fully vaccinated, compared to 55% in rich countries With 100 days until end of 2021, new campaign - ‘The 100 Day Countdown’ - calls for 2bn vaccines to be delivered to low and lower-middle income countries by year end Call on new Vaccines Minister Maggie Throup to ‘scale up support’ for global vaccine sharing ‘Profits should never come before lives’ - Agnès Callamard Six companies at the helm of the global

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UK: Government must end Covid vaccine hoarding as booster programme announced

The UK has ordered enough doses to vaccinate its whole population three times over If current trends continue, it will take the world’s poorest countries until 2078 to vaccinate their populations ‘Booster jabs are welcome, but Boris Johnson must truly understand that nobody is safe until everyone is safe’ - Steve Cockburn Responding to news that the UK government plans to roll out Covid vaccine boosters for the over-50s and clinically vulnerable, Steve Cockburn, Head of Economic and Social Justice at Amnesty International, said “As the UK prepares to provide booster jabs to higher risk adults

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Myanmar: Military threatening health workers amid Covid-19 surge

Military reportedly hoarding oxygen, contributing to a national shortage Jailed opponents of military among those at risk “The military authorities have driven the country’s already fragile healthcare system into the ground’” – Ming Yu Hah The Myanmar military authorities must stop threatening health workers, Amnesty International said today, as the country struggles with soaring Covid-19 cases and a national oxygen shortage. In the last six weeks, Covid cases and deaths have risen sharply in the country, leaving patients struggling to access oxygen as military conflict continues to escalate

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COVID-19: Michael Palin joins Amnesty call for UK to urgently redistribute vaccines

Latest data shows that 85% of vaccines have been administered in rich countries Estimates project that if jabs are not shared it will take 57 years for the planet to be fully vaccinated 'I am calling on the UK government to share its vaccine supply immediately with... countries where those most at-risk have yet to have access to Covid-19 vaccines' - Michael Palin Amnesty International and actor Michael Palin are urgently calling on the UK government to redistribute Covid-19 vaccines to ensure that those most at risk - no matter where they live - can receive a life-saving jab, as Nepal and many

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Covid-19: 4,000,000 death toll must push rich governments and big pharma to act

Scientist uses pipette and test tube to carry out research into Covid-19 vaccine
Vaccine developers have received more than 70 billion pounds in public funding, yet not a single vaccine developer has agreed to waive patents © Unsplash

One person dying from virus every 11 seconds, with poorer countries bearing brunt Nine new vaccine billionaires have profited from pandemic yet vast swathes of world have no access to jab ‘Equal access to vaccines shouldn’t be based on where you live’ - Agnès Callamard Reacting to the news that four million people have now died globally from Covid-19, according to data from John Hopkins University, Agnès Callamard, Amnesty International’s Secretary General, said: “This devastating milestone must spur richer governments and companies into immediate action. How many more millions must die before

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Nepal: Lack of a second dose endangers over 1.4 million

Nepal Map
days left to take action

Over 1.4 million people in Nepal, most of them over 65 years of age and considered to be in high-risk groups took their 1st dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine between 7 and 15 March. They were initially due have their 2nd dose 8-12 weeks later. However, with no supply to administer the doses by 6 June, Nepal extended the timeline from 12 to 16 weeks therefore, the 1.4 million people must have their second dose between 27 June and 5 July. 

Still facing acute shortages of supply, Nepal will not meet this commitment without international support. Not only is the right to health and life of these people at risk, due to a deadly wave of Covid-19 sweeping the country, but these first doses administered could have to be repeated to achieve full immunization if they wait too long. 

Amnesty International’s briefing ‘Struggling to Breathe- The Second Wave of Covid-19 in Nepal’, documents the public health crisis faced by Nepal since April 2021 as the second wave of Covid-19 in the country wreaked havoc on its fragile health system. Immediate action is needed from both the government of Nepal and the international community to support the health care system, which is teetering on the edge of collapse. Nepal, like other countries across South Asia, is also facing a drastic shortage of vaccines. To date, Nepal has only vaccinated less than three percent of its population with second doses, while other countries that could potentially donate the needed vaccines enjoy high-vaccination coverage. For example, 60% of the UK population and 53% of people in the USA have received at least one dose to date. COVAX, a global initiative to help low- and middle-income countries access vaccines is falling short of its commitments to provide vaccines.

Many people have lost lives due to the unavailability of medical oxygen, or from being turned away from overwhelmed hospitals that were already struggling with shortages of hospital beds, human resources, and essential medical supply. While public health experts believe that the number of deaths is being underestimated, as of 16 June, 8,558 Covid-19 deaths had been registered in Nepal according to government figures, with the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) projecting a total of 34,887 deaths by 1 September 2021. 

The international community must fulfil their obligation to ensure international cooperation by joining and adequately supporting global mechanisms such as COVAX thereby enabling all countries, including low-income ones such as Nepal, to have adequate supplies of vaccines to protect their entire populations in a timely manner. States must cooperate globally and remove any potential barriers to ensure that vaccines are developed, manufactured insufficient supply, and then distributed in a timely and inclusive manner around the globe.

States must ensure that intellectual property rights do not prevent any countries from upholding the right to health. This includes agreeing to a ‘waiver’ on certain aspects of the TRIPS agreement for the production of COVID-19 health products, supporting the WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), and placing conditions on public funding to ensure pharmaceutical companies share their innovations, technology and data with other manufacturers. States also must assess and make any necessary adjustments to their intellectual property laws, policies and practices to ensure that these do not form a barrier to Covid-19 health products for all people globally including in countries facing a surge in cases like Nepal.  

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Nepal: Vaccines and oxygen desperately needed amid devastating second Covid-19 wave

New Amnesty briefing calls for international community to step up support “We are currently seeing the same desperate situation play out in Nepal that we saw in India over recent months” – Yamini Mishra Nepal’s politicians must set aside their differences and take decisive action to save thousands of lives as the country endures a devastating second wave of Covid-19, Amnesty International said in a new briefing published today (June 14). The briefing, Struggling to Breathe: The Second Wave of Covid-19 in Nepal, examines the virus’ impact on the country’s underfunded health system, and the

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G7 summit: one billion vaccine pledge is 'drop in the ocean'

Illustrative photo of a syringe in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 4, 2020.
Illustrative photo of a syringe in Buenos Aires, Argentina on August 4, 2020. © Carol Smiljan/NurPhoto

At current rates, it will take poorest countries another 50 years to vaccinate their populations ‘These leaders must climb out of the pockets of Big Pharma’ - Agnès Callamard Responding to news that G7 countries are expected to commit to providing one billion Covid-19 vaccine doses to poorer countries, Agnès Callamard, Secretary General at Amnesty International, said: “Pledging to provide one billion doses is a drop in the ocean and wouldn’t come close to covering the population of India, let alone vaccinating the world’s population. “It is nowhere near enough and fails to address the root

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