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Corona crisis: UN accuses Germany of blocking vaccine distribution because of patents


The release of patents for corona vaccines could help poorer countries - but Germany is against it. For this stance, it is sharply criticized by the UN head of development.

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Vaccination station in Venezuela: poorer countries in particular are suffering from a lack of vaccines

Photo: Javier Campos / imago images / NurPhoto

The topic last caused heated debates in May.

Should the patents for vaccines against the coronavirus be released?

From the point of view of many experts, this would accelerate the vaccination campaigns in developing and emerging countries.

Many pharmaceutical companies are strictly against it, they fear the loss of billions in revenue.

Now there is criticism from the UN development organization UNDP.

According to their assessment, Germany and other countries are slowing down the fight against the pandemic by blocking the release of patents for vaccines.

"Intellectual property rights are an obstacle to the accelerated distribution and production of vaccines," said UNDP boss Achim Steiner of the dpa news agency.

There are always concerns about attempts like the one to release patents, but "risk is not a reason not to act now."

The release of patents must be considered as one of several measures to counter the blatant inequality in the distribution of vaccines.

There was also resistance at the G7 summit

Most recently, at the G7 summit in Cornwall, Germany and Great Britain again opposed the release of patents.

Such approval could enable license-free vaccine production in developing countries.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said in May that this was not a solution to make vaccines available to more people - it requires the creativity and innovative strength of companies, and the protection of patents is a prerequisite for this.

US President Joe Biden had brought the proposal for a clearance into play.

With Biontech and AstraZeneca, two successful manufacturers of corona vaccines come from Germany and Great Britain.

Steiner: "Not a good position"

The German UN representative Steiner, who took up his second term as head of development and third highest diplomat at the United Nations on Thursday, called the unilateral distribution of vaccines in favor of the industrialized nations "not to be represented".

Last year, the international community missed providing the international Covax vaccination program with enough money.

Instead, the poorest countries are now dependent on the states that manufacture the vaccines and also hold the patents on them.

"That is not a good position for a global family and a community of nations," Steiner continued.

The promise of the industrialized nations at the G7 summit to provide at least one billion vaccine doses by mid-2022 is not sufficient from the point of view of those in need.

"In the eyes of many who live in developing countries, it is still too little and too long," said Steiner.

However, he also feels it is wrong to condemn governments for giving their own populations priority in combating the pandemic.

jok / dpa

Source: spiegel

All tech articles on 2021-06-20

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