COVID-19: Obasanjo joins world leaders in call for ‘people’s vaccine’
Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo is among 140 current and former world leaders calling for “a people’s vaccine” against coronavirus (COVID-19).
The call, which was contained in a petition they signed on Thursday, urging all governments to push for a free COVID-19 vaccine for all when developed.
The petition was initiated by the Joint UN Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations agency dedicated to eradicating the HIV/AIDS virus.
Obasanjo, who led Nigeria as a civilian Head of State between 1999 and 2007, is a member of the Champion for an AIDS-Free Generation.
In the petition, the leaders are demanding that when a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, it should be made available free of charge to all.
President of South Africa and Chairman of the African Union, Cyril Ramaphosa; his Senegalese and Ghanaian counterparts, Macky Sall and Nana Akufo-Addo, respectively, are among the signatories.
According to UNAIDS, the demand is the most ambitious position yet by world leaders “on what has become the most urgent quest in modern science.”
The petition came ahead of a virtual meeting of the World Health Assembly, the world’s highest health policy-making body comprising health ministers from UN member states, holding on May 18.
“We are calling on Health Ministers at the World Health Assembly to rally behind a people’s vaccine against this disease urgently.
“Governments and international partners must unite around a global guarantee which ensures that, when a safe and effective vaccine is developed, it is produced rapidly at scale and made available for all people, in all countries, free of charge.
“The same applies for all treatments, diagnostics, and other technologies for COVID-19,” they said.
The petitioners noted that the world would be safer only when everyone could benefit from the science and access a vaccine, “and that is a political challenge.
“We must heed the warning that ‘those who do not remember the past are doomed to repeat it.
“We must learn the painful lessons from a history of unequal access in dealing with disease such as HIV and Ebola.
“But we must also remember the ground-breaking victories of health movements, including AIDS activists and advocates who fought for access to affordable medicines for all,” they said.
Other signatories include former President of Liberia, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Gordon Brown.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the demand came as the world searches for a vaccine against the novel virus.
As of Thursday morning, the disease had infected no fewer than four million people and killed more than 290,000 others, according to the World Health Organisation(WHO).
On April 24, the WHO in collaboration with world leaders launched what they call Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.
ACT Accelerator seeks to speed up the development, production and equitable distribution of COVID-18 drugs, tests kits and vaccines around the world.
The petitioners called for a mandatory worldwide sharing of all COVID-19-related knowledge, data and technologies with a pool of COVID-19 licenses freely available to all countries.
“Countries should be empowered and enabled to make full use of agreed safeguards and flexibilities in the WTO Doha Declaration on the TRIPS Agreement and Public Health to protect access to medicines for all
“We call for an agreement that establishes a global and equitable rapid manufacturing and distribution plan, that is fully-funded by rich nations, for the vaccine and all COVID-19 products and technologies that guarantee transparent ‘at true cost-prices’ and supplies according to need.
“Action must start urgently to massively build capacity worldwide to manufacture billions of vaccine doses,” they demanded.
The leaders also called for urgent steps to recruit and train millions of paid and protected health workers needed to deliver them.
YOU SHOULD NOT MISS THESE HEADLINES FROM NIGERIAN TRIBUNE
COVID-19: 950 More Nigerian Children Under Five Could Die Daily Without Urgent Action ― UNICEF
It has been observed that unless urgent actions are taken, an additional 950 Nigerian children, mostly under-five years, could die daily from preventable causes over the next six months as the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts routine services and threatens to weaken the health system… Read full story
WHO Warns Coronavirus May Never Go Away As Toll Nears 300,000
The coronavirus may never go away and populations will have to learn to live with it just as they have HIV, the World Health Organization has warned, as the global death toll from the disease nears 300,000. There were also gloomy forecasts from the US Federal Reserve, which said prolonged shutdowns to stem… Read full story
COVID-19: When Eye Glasses Become Important
SCIENTISTS are still deep in the research process of uncovering all the ways in which COVID-19 can be transmitted. Now, in a new study, researchers at the University of Hong Kong have found eyes are ‘important route’ for coronavirus. The findings are challenging the widely held assumption in the earliest stages of the… Read full story
Why We Rejected Zoom Meeting With FG —ASUU President
The president of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Professor Biodun Ogunyemi, has explained why the union refused to hold meeting via Zoom platform with the Federal Government’s representatives, saying such meeting would not yield any tangible result as it would be difficult to control… Read full story
How 13 Members Of Crime Group, Shila Boys, Landed In Adamawa Police Net
Thirteen members of a crime group in Adamawa State known as Shila Boys were on Wednesday, May 13, paraded after they were arrested for attacking residents of the state. The newly-established Task Force to fight against crime in the state arrested the 13 members and recovered weapons as well as tricycles… Read full story
Why FG Should Stop Working Against Domestic Airlines
If there is anything that is standing for the governments in places like America, Europe, Asia and Middle East and other developed nations of the world, that thing is patriotism and the over protectionism policy of the governments of these nations when it comes to their own things… Read full story
Six Opposition Party Members Arrested For Distributing Face Masks In Cameroon Market
Six members of Cameroon’s opposition party, the Cameroon Renaissance Movement (MRC), have been arrested for distributing face masks and hand sanitisers in the capital, Yaoundé. The six men were picked up at the Mokolo market, one of the largest in the country… Read full story