REACTION: Nicola Sturgeon announces support for Covid vaccine patent waiver

REACTION: Nicola Sturgeon announces support for Covid vaccine patent waiver

Date: 7 December 2021
Campaigns: Pharma

Reacting to today’s statement by Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in which she announced her support for a waiver of intellectual property rules on Covid-19 vaccines to allow production to be ramped up and address the huge global inequality in access to vaccines, Liz Murray head of campaigns at Global Justice Now Scotland, said:

The British government has repeatedly blocked efforts to expand access to Covid-19 vaccines around the world through an emergency suspension of intellectual property rules, including vaccine patents. But today, Nicola Sturgeon has made clear that the UK does not do this in Scotland’s name.

“The UK government is becoming more and more isolated globally in its shameful refusal to back a just solution to global vaccine inequality. The First Minister’s statement will be welcomed by all those in the global south who have been calling for this life saving measure for more than a year.

“With pressure growing on Boris Johnson to support the suspension of patents on Covid-19 vaccines, it’s time for him to finally put the health of people around the world before the profits of the pharmaceutical companies.”

Notes to editors

The First Minister’s statement of support for a People’s Vaccine is available here.

Responding to a question from Joe FitzPatrick MSP, asking if she supports a waiver of intellectual property rules to ensure equitable access to Covid-19 vaccines, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said:

“I do support the calls of the People’s Vaccine Alliance. I certainly call on the Prime Minister to take whatever action he can to ensure that we get vaccines equitably to the population of the world as quickly as possible. I also take very seriously the responsibility on the shoulders of my government to make sure we are doing everything possible.

“Covid is a global crisis. It is very understandable that often we focus on the implications for ourselves and our own country, but it is an unprecedented global crisis. Earlier in the pandemic, the government allocated funding for our own international development budget to provide Covid support for partner countries Malawi, Rwanda, Zambia, and Pakistan. The UK also participates in Covax, which is an important way to help other nations access vaccines.

“But it is fundamentally the case, as Omicron is reminding us, that until everybody across the world is safe, none of us are truly safe. So we are very keen to explore further routes that support equitable access to vaccines. I will write to the Prime Minister on this to encourage him to take whatever action is necessary, but also to offer the full cooperation of the Scottish government in doing so.”

Photo: Scottish Government/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

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