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Waiver by Biden is great step, sharing of vaccine recipes should be next

LONDON, 6 May 2021 - Save the Children is thrilled with the announcement of the Biden administration to back the waiving of intellectual property rights to COVID-19 vaccines, but emphasizes other countries now must follow suit immediately as part of a wider effort to ensure fair access to vaccines for all.

Kirsty McNeill, Director of Policy and Campaigns, said:
“This an important step in ensuring COVID-19 vaccines can reach everyone, everywhere, including the most marginalised. Recent spikes in India and other countries have truly shown that no one is safe, until everyone is safe. We can’t crack the Covid crisis without countries working together.

“Children have been suffering the loss of their parents or their siblings for over a year now, the virus has forced them out of school for months at a time. Children out of school are at a high risk of abuse, of exploitation or child labour, of early marriage.

“Every step to prevent this situation from lasting is an important one, and several organisations and countries have been doing tremendous work to advocate for this waiver. It’s important other influential governments follow suit and support the waiving of intellectual property rights, in addition to supporting the transfer of knowledge and capacity to increase the desperately needed supply.

“There is a mammoth task ahead of us. Governments, organisations and companies must all work together and use every tool available to ensure all countries have unhindered access to vaccines and can achieve universal coverage. These tools include intellectual property waivers, non-exclusive licensing, technology and know-how sharing with manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries. At the upcoming G7 some of the world’s richest countries have the opportunity to commit their fair share of the $66 billion needed to vaccinate the world’s poorest people. Only then we can say we are on the road to recovery.”

Save the Children has spokespeople available. With any requests contact: d.stewart@savethechildren.org.uk / +44 (0)20 3763 0119.