Defending the Common Good – a joint call
We now invite you to take up action. First step: a public statement on March 11, 2021 – the first anniversary of the WHO declaration of a “public health emergency of international concern” regarding COVID-19.
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Defending the Common Good:
Sars-cov2 Vaccines as a Global Public Good, available to everyone
A viral epidemic took over our planet. More than ever, the lives of all peoples are united in one humanity. The solution to this pandemic threat makes it impossible to be selfish or to rely on privileges.
If the action of a virus provoked the rise of a common evil, the human genius has fortunately found prodigious answers: tests, vaccines and other therapeutic solutions.
The vaccines are there, we know how to produce them, but they are still not accessible to most of us. Wider and faster distribution of these vaccines in France and throughout the world is now being prevented. Private interests, commercial considerations and opaque negotiations are creating an intolerable worldwide shortage of vaccines. This deprivation is unjust for some and dangerous for all.
To the few private pharmaceutical companies, as well as to the leaders of States, producers of vaccines, we say forcefully that, in the face of the global disaster that we are going through, nothing can justify your monopoly, your relentless defence of patents, nor your financial speculation on our health. Greedy opportunism in the face of this scourge is an insult to our humanity.
Health is a common good, the right of everyone and a compelling duty of governments.
Ladies and gentlemen, French and European leaders, since the beginning of this crisis, citizens have made enormous sacrifices to face this pandemic. You have made promises for the future, you have invested public funds, you have also made solemn commitments to make vaccines accessible to all.
We have come here to tell you that this is not what it is all about.
Today, existing vaccines are still lacking. As death continues to spread across continents, our economies are being suffocated and our lives are being shrunk to the bare minimum.
This has to change.
We are here to demand free access to production and equity in the distribution of vaccines and all the tools to fight against the Covid now and in the future, the only way to stop the shortage that is hurting us. Faced with the emergency and extent of this pandemic, all the industrial forces of the planet, public or private, must be mobilised, or even requisitioned, as some of us demand, to provide humanity with all the therapeutic means it urgently needs.
This must change and this change is within our reach.
The health situation is absolutely exceptional, by its extent and gravity. Solutions exist, but they are not being applied. Worse still, since October 2020, the representatives of the European Union have been constantly opposing the request of a hundred or so countries, presented to the World Trade Organisation, to free up vaccine licences. Ladies and Gentlemen, your resistance to a united and law-abiding outcome does not have the support of the citizens you represent. Proposals for international donations (such as the WHO’s Covax) are not appropriate responses to curb this epidemic, since they endorse the insufficiency and high cost of global vaccine production. The charity of the powerful cannot cover injustice.
The essential element of all vaccines is the genomic sequence of the SARS-Cov-2 virus. This sequence – without which no vaccine is possible – has become a common global public resource accessible to all. There is no reason why the vaccines derived from it should not be, especially since research and public funding have made a major contribution to their manufacture.
Covid-19 vaccines are indeed a common good of all humanity.
A first, limited, insufficient but significant result of our actions has been achieved: the European Commission is considering setting up a mechanism that would allow voluntary sharing of licences and know-how of vaccine producers with other pharmaceutical companies. We can, we must get more. We call on citizens, associations, social, trade union and political organisations to increase their mobilisation to make this principle of the common good of humanity a concrete reality, in order to put an end to the shortage and inequity in the distribution of vaccines and the lack of resources allocated to public health, hospitals and research.
Together, we can turn this threat into an opportunity and our response into a lesson for the future of the common good. Let us use this crisis as an opportunity to take a step towards a better world. A world where we will no longer accept that private interests and economic logic poison the earth, spread famine and, as today, deny us access to health and fulfilment for all.
The signatories of this call:
- encourage EU citizens to sign the European petition “No Profit Pandemics” to reach 1 million signatures in order to impose a debate on this issue at EU level. https://noprofitonpandemic.eu/
- propose that citizens seize the date of 11 March 2021, the disastrous anniversary of the declaration of the pandemic, to advance these demands for universal common goods. The signatories will organise a unitary online debate on that day.
- invite citizens to demonstrate on 7 April 2021, World Health Day, to show our disagreement with the choices – or the lack of choices – made by governing bodies with regard to the mass production of vaccines.
Paris, 21 February 2021