February 11, 2021
By February 5, not a single dose of COVID-19 vaccines was administered in 130 countries with a combined population of 2.5 billion people, the World Health Organization reports. According to Human Rights Watch, inequitable access to vaccines is the reason for this alarming statistic. “Of the more than 131 million doses given in 73 countries by February 8, 78 percent (more than 102.48 million doses) went to people in the United States, China, within the European Union, and the United Kingdom. Bridging the vaccine gap requires a human rights approach. Governments have the primary responsibility to ensure everyone, everywhere has access to a safe and effective Covid-19 vaccine. But companies have human rights responsibilities too.”
Especially pharma companies should adopt a rights-based approach to help bridge the vaccine gap. A new Question-and-Answer document published by Human Rights Watch highlights the issues pharmaceutical companies should respond to, including intellectual property and pricing risks.