2.7m people petition WTO to give world population access to Covid vaccines

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  • The WTO has received a petition signed by over 2.7 million people from around the world calling for universal access to affordable Covid-19 vaccines

  • The vaccines are expected to bring back some semblance of the pre-pandemic normalcy, which in turn may improve the global economy

The World Trade Organization has received a petition signed by over 2.7 million people from around the world calling for universal access to affordable Covid-19 vaccines, said reports from Geneva on Wednesday, June 9.

The Covid-19 pandemic has already cost the world around $11.7 trillion in 2020, according to estimates by global non-profit Oxfam. In the Middle-East, it has affected economies in various ways, like reducing the global demand for oil and petroleum, or hitting the entire economic ecosystem around Hajj, which accounted for 7% of Saudi Arabia’s Gross Domestic Product in 2019.

Covid-19 vaccines, being rolled out across the world, are expected to bring back some semblance of the pre-pandemic normalcy, which in turn may improve economies across the world.

The petition to WTO was delivered by Avaaz, an online activist network, and the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of organizations.

It brought together the work of more than 40 organizations worldwide, including the Online Progressive Engagement Network, Public Citizen, Frontline AIDS, Amnesty International, Oxfam, SumOfUs and the European Citizens’ Initiative for No Profit on Pandemic.

The handover took place the day before a meeting of the Council for Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), where WTO members will continue discussions on a revised proposal to waive certain obligations in the TRIPS Agreement in relation to the prevention, containment or treatment of Covid-19.

The original version of the petition, signed by over 900,000 individuals, was delivered to the WTO on December 9 last year. The updated petition, with over 2 million signatures, has been supported by a variety of influential public figures, said the local reports.

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