London, Jun 22 (FN Bureau) Developing countries from the Global South committed to share COVID-19 vaccine technology and production, in an attempt to counteract the “vaccine apartheid” that has seen 85 percent of the jabs administered worldwide so far going to high- and upper-middle income nations, Progressive International has announced. According to the organization uniting and mobilizing progressive left-wing activists, the pledge was the corollary of a four-day virtual summit that concluded on Monday, with the participation of the national governments of Argentina, Mexico, Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela, and the regional governments of Kisumu, Kenya, and Kerala, India.
Political leaders from 20 countries, including UK Labour Party former leader Jeremy Corbyn, healthcare workers, vaccine manufacturers and public health experts also attended the online event. “A new international health order is in formation. It is desperately needed to overcome the vaccine apartheid which threatens our very survival, calls the South’s sovereignty into question and risks further murderous mutations of this virus,” Varsha Gandikota-Nellutla, Progressive International cabinet member and Summit coordinator, was quoted as saying. Commitments were made in five key areas vital for speeding up the production and distribution of medicine to end the pandemic which included open collaboration over Covid-19 vaccine technologies and solidarity prices for vaccines.
Other areas in which the member countries pledged to collaborate included sharing of regulatory capacity to approve Covid-19 vaccines for domestic use, pooling manufacturing capacity to ramp up the vaccine, and medical equipment production. They also agreed that there will be collective disobedience to challenge the big pharma monopoly enforced through the World Trade Organisation. Progressive International, which was formed September 2020 by the Democracy in Europe Movement and the Sanders Foundation, has warned that at the current vaccination pace, where only 0.3 percent of doses have been administered in low-income countries, the pandemic will continue to rip through the Global South, leaving the whole world highly vulnerable, for another 57 years.