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Right to Cure: Vaccines Must be a Common Good

We have endured over a year of pandemic where we have lost loved ones, and our mental health has taken a toll through strict lockdowns, job loss and insecurity, and we have seen governments take this moment to implement authoritarian rules.

 

After a year of personal and political struggles, there is hope as vaccines are being approved and delivered to the most vulnerable. However, the introduction of these vaccines have led to more challenges than successes. As governments struggle to meet the immediate demand, we see an imbalance of access to vaccines globally. Meanwhile, our human rights face serious restrictions as the European Commission is determined to prioritise the economy.

 

Therefore, on this World Health Day, the  Federation of Young European Greens have the following ten demands for a fair and just vaccine rollout and testing requirements:

 

  1. All vaccines should be commons.Big pharma should not profit off a global pandemic that has devastated lives. We call to remove intellectual property rights (patents) of all coronavirus vaccines. These coronavirus vaccines have been made possible through public investment and therefore should be a public good.

  2. Free and fast testing for all. Without free testing, we risk closing our borders to all but the wealthy. We understand the need to open the borders and the need to revitalise the economy but for this we need free PCR tests across all Europe. 

  3. A faster vaccine roll out. The priority of governments and the EU should be the vaccination of entire populations. We need to increase the speed of vaccine roll-out and a public campaign to stop misinformation about the efficacy of the vaccines.

  4. Equal access to vaccinesfor refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.  Europe must ensure that refugees and undocumented migrants are vaccinated along with everyone else. Refugees and asylum seekers in camps are kept in dangerous health conditions. Moreover so far only 50% of the nations with a strategy are including refugees in their strategy. We need everyone to be included in the distribution of vaccines.

  5. Redistribute the vaccines in the world fairly to achieve global solidarity. Only 4% of total vaccines have been done in MAPA* countries. High-income countries should not overstock on vaccines way above their actual populations but rather redistribute. 

  6. Freedom of movement is still a right. The European Commission is pushing an urgency procedure to approve their Digital Green Certificates but data security, privacy and anti-discrimination are not guaranteed in the proposal. This regulation is presented as the golden solution to re-enable freedom of movement but every time people are asked to present a document to travel they are actually restricted from freedom of movement. Moreover, the elected chambers like the European Parliament are blocked from properly debating this proposal due to claimed “urgency”. The Commission is taking action for action’s sake and doing what it knows best: creating more red-tape and impossible to understand bureaucracy for citizens. 

  7. No discrimination between vaccinated and non-vaccinated. The EU and governments must ensure concrete measures to prevent discrimination between those vaccinated and those who cannot be vaccinated for legitimate reasons. Currently the European Commission is not offering enough.

  8. Guarantee data protection for the vaccine passports.

  9. Full transparency of medical contracts related to Covid-19. Pharmaceutical corporations are not transparent and often profit at the expense of public health. We demand a fair, publicly owned pharmaceutical sector to compliment the private sector

  10. Long term.  Healthcare is a human right. Increase funding for public healthcare, including Covid-19 treatment. We are only now seeing the impact of long Covid. Healthcare systems must be based on prevention, be accessible, non-discriminatory and adjusted to every individual's needs. Healthcare must also consist of psychological and social care. Treatment must be free of religious, cultural or traditional limitations. 

 

This is a global pandemic. Recovery must be focused on people, not the economy. We will not come out of this for a long time if profits are more important than human lives. Everyone should have the right to the vaccine.

 

This World Health Day, we call for global solidarity and a fair and just vaccination roll out. 

 

If you are an EU citizen, sign the European Citizens’ Initiative calling for no profit on the pandemic.