Beijing, 22 June 2022 (TDI): The Ministerial Conference Twelfth Session (MC12) of WTO took place in Geneva, Switzerland from June 12 to 17.
According to the decision made at the conference, a huge waiver of COVID-19 vaccine patents is going to benefit developing countries.
The decision authorized developing members in WTO to produce COVID-19 vaccines without the consent of the right holder for five years.
During the series of sessions, China played a significant role during the key stage of negotiation.
Accordingly, China announced that the country will forego the flexibility of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver on COVID-19 vaccines.
Considering China’s role as a major producer of COVID vaccines, such an announcement had a crucial meaning.
Meanwhile, China’s contribution to the global access to the COVID-19 vaccine does not only focus on the waiver of patents.
According to Xinhua, China, a Chinese state media, China has provided over 2.2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines.
The doses have covered more than 120 countries and international organizations.
#China has played a constructive role in the #WTO negotiations to facilitate a major decision on the waiver of intellectual property rights for #COVID19 vaccines, an official from the Ministry of Commerce said on Monday. For details: https://t.co/RxGzzOsHA8 pic.twitter.com/lBRhPzdwDh
— Chinese Embassy in Tanzania (@ChineseEmbTZ) June 21, 2022
COVID-19 Vaccines in Developing Countries
Due to the limited development of the pharmaceutical industry in developing countries and the limitations of vaccine patents, the progress of COVID-19 vaccination has made less progress.
To bridge the inequality, the UN health agency called for getting 70% of the global population vaccinated by mid-2022.
The UN agency made this target in September 2021. At that time, there was already a huge gap between the percentage of the vaccinated population in low-income countries and high-income ones.
The gap referred to the proportion that people vaccinated in developed countries is at least 20 times higher than in low-income countries.
According to the UN in March 2022, there has been a sharp increase in the number of vaccinated population globally.
However, the gap in vaccination rates between low-income and high-income countries has also increased sharply.
More than 10 billion doses have been delivered worldwide, but low-income countries only have access to 1% of the total.
The alarming gap in vaccination reflects the huge gap between rich and poor in developing and developed countries.
Meanwhile, the current situation can tell that the development of the pharmaceutical industry in many low-income countries is inadequate.
Such pharmaceutical ability is not able to cope with global health crises. The waiver of COVID-19 vaccine patents is only an area.
At the same time, the international community also needs to support low-income countries to improve their own pharmaceutical industry.
In this regard, China is helping countries to set up and increase their capacities to produce vaccines.