Access to COVID-19 related health technologies
Access to COVID-19 related health technologies

Thank you for contacting me about equitable access to COVID-19 related health technologies.

The last few years have highlighted the importance of international collaboration.

Furthermore I believe that there is one area where global leadership is required more urgently than any other, and where this Government is lacking. This is the international fight against COVID-19.

The sad truth is that thousands are still dying every day around the world simply because the world is not producing the volume of vaccines necessary and at the speed, they are needed to save lives.

I am also concerned that the longer COVID-19 can spread unchecked among unvaccinated populations, the more likely that aggressive new variants will emerge that threaten the success of existing vaccine programmes.

The UK Government tries to argue that there is “no evidence” that waiving Intellectual Property rights would help address the inequitable distribution of vaccines, and instead would undermine the framework which has incentivised the development of new products to combat COVID-19. I absolutely disagree.

The United Kingdom should be a world leader in the international effort to share technologies and data to deliver and upscale the manufacturing of COVID-19 technologies so that we can maximise our chances of putting the pandemic behind us as soon as possible. Working together, collaborating and building partnerships is the way we overcome this.

In my view, striving for global access to vaccines also makes economic sense. COVID-19 is not just a health emergency but an economic emergency, and instead of being preoccupied with how much global vaccination would cost, we would be better served by considering how much it would save.

Therefore, to limit deaths and the chances of new variants emerging, I support speeding up the proposed timeline and producing a sustainable, fully-funded strategy. In addition to donations from wealthy countries, it is also necessary to produce and distribute enough coronavirus vaccines for the whole world and put in place the tools we need to fight future pandemics.

There is an opportunity to save lives both here in the United Kingdom and abroad if countries work together. I think the UK Government should be playing its part and using its influence to make this happen.

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