Winnie Byanyima condemns global ‘vaccine apartheid’ on ABC radio

January 31, 2022: Speaking on ABC Radio National’s The Money, Executive Director of UNAIDS Winnie Byanyima has condemned global vaccine apartheid, saying that leaders of rich countries are “sitting back and watching a handful of companies creating billions for themselves, as people die and as the virus mutates and continues to spread.”

“The leaders of big countries have left key decisions on supply and distribution in the hands of a handful of pharmaceutical companies, and most of them have gone for the highest profit.”

“What has happened is the leaders of rich countries have allowed [companies like] Pfizer, Moderna, to make a thousand-dollar profit per second while hiding behind monopolies, artificially restricting the supply of vaccines, and while making themselves billions instead of vaccinating billions.”

Winnie Byanyima called on all member states of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to support a waiver on patent monopolies over COVID19 vaccines, saying: “We still see some European countries, such as the UK and Germany, still holding out. We need them to come behind this resolution so there is no legal impediment for any country to produce [vaccines].”

On ABC Radio National’s Rear Vision, public health advocate Dr Deborah Gleeson said that voluntary mechanisms of sharing the vaccine – such as a World Health Organisation (WHO) technology access pool, an MRNA manufacturing hub in Africa, and a medicines patent pool – have all failed through lack of cooperation from Big Pharma.

“Rich countries have a lot of responsibility for this [failure], as well as the pharmaceutical industry, because they’ve failed to put put conditions on the public funding that they’ve given to the industry, which might have forced the pharmaceutical industry to share its products.”

Dr Gleeson also called for all countries to support the waiver on WTO monopolies for vaccines.

  • To listen to Winnie Byanyima’s interview on The Money, click here.
  • To listen to Dr Deborah Gleeson on Rear Vision, click here.