On the occasion of Liberation Day, intellectuals and scientists launch an appeal to free the Covid-19 vaccine from patents: “against inequality and for the universal right to health”.
Giorgio Brizio, Lella Costa, Domenico De Masi, Sara Diena, Tiziana Donati (Tosca), Carlo Petrini, Domenico Pompili and Gustavo Zagrebelsky have launched an appeal calling for immunisation also for the inhabitants of countries that do not have the economic and political strength to access vaccines against Covid-19. Here is their message.
The appeal to free the vaccine from patents
On 25 April 2020, united by the appeal “iorestolibera, iorestolibero”, we gathered in a virtual square to celebrate the anniversary of the Liberation. An event that generated an incredible mobilisation of human and economic resources in favour of our most vulnerable compatriots. An occasion that demonstrated how good intentions, values and feelings of human solidarity are able to fill the void created by forced physical distance.
“We declared then: ‘Let us recognise each other, let us unite to put this crisis behind us and design a bright and promising tomorrow’. One year on, let us reaffirm that desire and make it even more universal. “Freedom implies responsibility’, said the American human rights activist and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt in the last century. A true and current awareness, which reminds us that liberation from this virus can only pass through a great movement of sharing and a spirit of community, which are embodied in the fair distribution of vaccines at planetary level. Health is everyone’s right and guaranteeing it is a responsibility that we – who are privileged in this world – cannot shirk.
At a time of global emergency such as the one we are currently experiencing, we must call loudly for the suspension of patents on vaccines, together with the liberalisation of knowledge, techniques and tools to promote their democratic production. Because if it is true that from a biological point of view the virus does not make exceptions of class, gender, age or nationality among people, it is also impossible to deny that from a social point of view, its devastating path has come up against great inequalities and discrimination, and has only increased them.
And now that the vaccine offers us an answer to deal with the advance of the virus, we cannot allow access to be the priority of the wealthiest, nor the property of certain nations that use it as a means of extending their power.
This is a warning that was launched loud and clear by Pope Francis on World Health Day and which we accept today, encouraging the formation of an international network that will take these demands forward and make them concrete.
With the pandemic, each of us has experienced interdependence: our individual protection can therefore only be achieved through universal protection of the community. Our individual protection can therefore only come through universal protection of the community. We can therefore feel truly secure when we also cure the great virus of injustice and inequality. Let us not turn our backs on this awareness!
Let us ensure that, on this 25 April, freedom also means recognising ourselves as responsible for the good and the fate of the weakest.
Giorgio Brizio, Lella Costa, Domenico De Masi, Sara Diena, Tiziana Donati (Tosca), Carlo Petrini, Domenico Pompili and Gustavo Zagrebelsky
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