Recoding of GCAP Global Webinar on Vaccine Inequality from April 6, 2022The Omicron variant of the Coronavirus, though milder, could spread in lightning speed affecting large populace in a short span. The need of hospitalisation was comparatively less than the earlier variants, but the pressure on the health system was well witnessed in the rich, middle and low income countries. The rich countries in Europe are now administering the booster doses to their people while the Asia the countries are far from full vaccination of its people due to lack of vaccine availability. The overall vaccination in Africa remains around 11% of its population1. Though there is vaccine hesitancy in the region, the prime reason is the lack of vaccine availability. Vaccine hesitancy also exists in other regions including Asia and Europe. Download the PP slides from Maaza Seyoum, Global South Convener, People’s Vaccine Alliance here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MWO7iey61P8 The artificial shortage of vaccines created by monopolising the technology has resulted in mutation of the virus in regular intervals and affecting humanity. It’s very clear that even if the people in rich countries are fully vaccinated, they remain vulnerable. The proof is the scale at which France, Germany, UK and other European countries, where the vaccination rate is quite high, have been engulfed by the Omicron variant. The situation endorses the slogan of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the CSOs fighting for vaccine equality including GCAP, People’s Vaccine Alliance and others, that “No one is safe, till everyone is safe”. The rich countries like the UK, Germany and European Union have been blocking the demand for a TRIPS waiver of the Covid vaccines, therapeutics, diagnostics by coming under the pressure of the greedy Pharma companies, thus endangering the lives of people in low and middle income countries so also in rich countries. This is despite clamour by the civil society, global leaders and low and middle income countries for last more than a year. Of late the European Union (EU) has acknowledged that the intellectual property restrictions are a barrier to access vaccines. It has entered into negotiation with India and South Africa and has proposed a compromised formula. This proposal however has been criticised a lot and it has been rejected by the People’s Vaccine Alliance and world leaders like Ban Ki-Moon, who suggests that India and South Africa should not accept half measure by west when lives are on line during the Covid-19 pandemic. While the global supply of vaccines is discriminatory and unequal creating a north-south divide, studies and observations in global south suggest the discrimination in vaccination among the marginalised groups including women, indigenous communities, transgender communities, migrants, communities discriminated by work and descent (CDWD), persons with disabilities (PwD) and there is also a rural and urban divide. The covid has severely impacted the livelihood of people forcing millions into poverty and unemployment. The only way out is to fully vaccinate the global population and formulate policies for free and universal vaccination in the country. With these developments, GCAP proposes a global webinar on Vaccine Inequality with the following objectives.
Actions on 11 March 2022 - the 2nd anniversary of the pandemicWe are now more than two years into the pandemic. On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organisation (WHO) declared COVID-19 as pandemic. Millions of people have lost their lives and hundreds of millions lost their livelihood and eduction due to the pandemic. Many lives could have been saved, if rich countries and the Pharma companies producing the COVID vaccine agreed to share their knowledge widely without any intellectual property restrictions. This did not happen. Profit won over people! Only 11% of the people in Africa are vaccinated. Many GCAP Africa coalitions have sent letters to the embassies of Germany, France, the UK, EU and the USA to demand the TRIPS Waiver. They also organised press conferences and other gatherings, stunts & events. Some actions have been documented and can be found below. This action was done in cooperation with the People's Vaccine Campaign (PVA). GCAP Ghana The members of GCAP Ghana sent letters demanding #TRIPSWaiver of Covid vaccines, test and treatment to the embassies of Germany, UK, France and US in Ghana #PeoplesVaccine #PeopleOverProfit #EndCOVIDMonopolies.
On the 2nd anniversary of the Pandemic, the civil society led by CONGOMA/GCAP Malawi demands the #TRIPSWaiver of Covid vaccines, test and treatment! #PeoplesVaccine #PeopleOverProfit #EndCOVIDMonopolies
African lives DO matter. Its time to say YES to PEOPLE, and NO to PROFIT! GCAP Nigeria demands a #PeoplesVaccine. #PeopleOverProfit #EndCOVIDMonopoliesGCAP Tanzania End vaccine apartheid in Africa and adopt #TRIPSWaiver of Covid vaccines, test and treatment at the WTO: Message to the leaders of rich countries by the members of SAHiRNGON/GCAP Tanzania in a radio show. #PeoplesVaccine #PeopleOverProfit #EndCOVIDMonopolies
Press Conference by GCAP Senegal: The western countries must support #TRIPSwaiver to help Africa manufacture Covid vaccines. #PeoplesVaccine #PeopleOverProfit #EndCOVIDMonopoliesGCAP Mauritius GCAP Mauritius engaged with the media to demand #PeoplesVaccine!! #PeopleOverProfit #EndCOVIDMonopolies
A Press Conference by GCAP Zambia & video was produced to demand #TRIPSWaiver and #EndCOVIDMonopolies in Zambia
GCAP Africa press coverage related to the actions on 11 March 2022:Tanzania
- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8UiGxmnEU2M (starting minute 7)
Sustainable Equality for All Emerging from COVID-19GCAP´s new political position is now available in English, Spanish and French, click on your preferred language to read the full text. The introductory part of the position is available below: COVID-19 has turned the world upside down. But it is hardly the first crisis to affect the billions of people whose rights to health, security, food and a life of dignity are routinely denied on a daily basis. For more than 15 years, the Global Call to Action Against Poverty and its constituents across the globe have been fighting for justice by challenging the structures and institutions that perpetuate poverty and inequalities. Since the pandemic began in December 2019, more than 200 million people have contracted COVID-19. Four and a half million individuals – sisters, brothers, parents, neighbours and friends – have died from the disease. These are the official numbers. The actual tally is likely much higher; many impoverished communities simply do not have the resources to provide a full accounting. At the same time, nearly 100 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty by the pandemic. COVID-19 is an Inequality Virus. The disparities are all around us: from unequal access to the vaccine to the fact that frontline workers – who face the greatest health risks – are predominantly women of colour as well as individuals from communities that face discrimination based on their work and descent. The education of an entire generation has been jeopardised, but students from affluent communities with good internet connection have fared better than others, while tens of millions of girls are danger of never returning to school. The world’s richest billionaires have seen their wealth double over the past year, while low-paid and informal-economy workers have seen their income shrink or dwindle to zero.
GCAP National Coalition members in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Japan led the embassy actions organised by People's Vaccine Alliance, Asia Chapter on 27-28 July when the WTO General Council meeting took place. The members sent letters demanding support for the TRIPS Waiver proposal by email to the embassy of UK, Germany, EU, Norway, Singapore, Japan, and South Korea. These are the countries and groups which are either opposing or not clearly supporting the TRIPS waiver proposal put forward by India and South Africa on Covid vaccines, diagnostics, therapeutics and medicines. Colleagues from other networks and coalitions, such as APMD, also joined the mobilisation efforts! How to finance a People´s Vaccine? An article in the New York times gave the answer on June 24, 2021:
The #IMF could issue Special Drawing Rights #SDR, which would give countries a "shot" at recovery and provide much needed liquidity and fiscal stimulus package as described in a new article in the New York Times: https://t.co/tX58KjcHIq#FacesOfInequality— Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) (@whiteband) June 29, 2021
Read the Peoples’ Vaccine Alliance-Asia charter of demands & the open letter to governments here. The Peoples Vaccine Alliance (PVA) in Asia is calling on Japan, Singapore and South Korea to take action on the voices of citizens across Asia and the global South by supporting the ‘temporary TRIPS Waiver’ proposal at the WTO’s general council meeting on 30th April, 2021, and ensuring big pharmaceutical companies and rich country governments voluntarily join the WHO-led COVID-19 Technology Access Pool. The appeal letter to Asian governments comes from 100 organizations including ActionAid, APCASO, Asia Dalit Rights Forum, Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Asian Peoples Movement on Debt and Development (APMDD), Global Call to Action Against Poverty -Asia (GCAP-Asia), Oxfam International, South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication, Fight Inequality Alliance India and 50 prominent individuals. Compared to the terrifying speed at which the virus is spreading and mutating, as we are witnessing in India, scaling up global COVID-19 vaccine access and inoculation has been painfully slow. Most of the world’s population, especially in middle- and lower-income countries, lack access to the vaccine. At the speed at which vaccination is proceeding, it will take decades to vaccinate all who need it. The intellectual property over COVID-19 vaccines is owned by big pharmaceutical corporations who are refusing to share the science and technology required to speed up mass production and distribution for the entire planet. “No single corporation will ever be able to produce enough vaccine doses quickly for everyone who needs it. If history has taught us anything, it is that pharmaceutical corporations create and protect monopolies in order to maximise profits instead of improving public health. We have seen this in the past with vital medicines for illnesses like HIV or cancer that have been priced far too high, out of reach for most people”, said Karyn Kaplan of Asia Catalyst. A temporary waiver of World Trade Organization (WTO) intellectual property rules during the COVID-19 pandemic, proposed by South Africa and India and supported by more than 100 WTO member states and numerous health experts worldwide, is a vital, necessary and urgent step to bring an end to this pandemic. A waiver of WTO TRIPS rules must be combined with ensuring vaccine know-how and technology is shared openly. This can be achieved through the World Health Organization COVID-19 Technology Access Pool. These actions would expand global manufacturing capacity, unhindered by industry monopolies that are driving the dire supply shortages blocking vaccine access. “When the pharmacy of the world is gasping for breath, keeping a monopoly over vaccine science for the sake of profit is immoral, self-defeating, and a collective failure”, said Mustafa Talpur, campaign and advocacy manager of Oxfam International in Asia. All these roadblocks to control COVID-19 spread are surmountable. The Asia region has a world-class generic pharmaceutical industry. With a little more shared technology and know-how, Asia-based companies can quickly support new manufacturing capacity in other countries, thereby reducing the negative impacts of COVID and improving response capacity for future pandemics. Countries in Asia, including China, India, Thailand, and others have demonstrated capacity to produce vaccines. “Vaccine equity will directly improve health outcomes, as no one is safe until everyone is safe. It is key to the enjoyment of human rights and is equally vital to a comprehensive economic rebuilding out of inequality, poverty and hunger. There is no time to lose! This is an urgent call for a solidaristic, humanitarian and accountable response to save millions of Asian people and their futures”, said Sandeep Chachra, Executive Director of ActionAid Association India.
The impact of the crisis on the poorest and most vulnerable groups is becoming increasingly evident. Recent analysis shows that the COVID crisis risks pushing half a billion people into poverty The UN has estimated that the pandemic could almost double the number of people suffering acute hunger, pushing it to more than a quarter of a billion by the end of 2020 and there are predictions of at least 15m more cases of domestic violence around the world this year as a result of pandemic restrictions. In response to the global crisis triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic, an unprecedented coalition of over 400 organisations working on human rights and sustainable development in every continent have come together, co-organized by GCAP, including community volunteers, local civil society groups, and major non-governmental organisations (NGOs), to demand a 12-point plan from world leaders. As governments consider key steps towards recovery, we are calling for a joined up plan to fight the crisis and build a just recovery that tackles the interlinked challenges of providing universal healthcare, reducing inequalities and guaranteeing human rights; alongside the critical need to re-think our economies in response to the parallel crises of climate change and biodiversity.
There are also clear political messages from GCAP's network:
- We cannot build back the system as it was before…
- …a system of exclusion and suffering for so many, a system that destroys the climate and biodiversity - no money for fossil fuel industries
- We need to demand immediate debt cancellation and tax justice - for example no recovery money for companies using tax havens,
- and we need to protect civic space curtailed by many governments.
GCAP has been active and our colleagues are reporting activities happening at local and national levels – there is such solidarity taking place! Read GCAP's statement on COVID-19: Putting the Most Vulnerable First.
We would like to encourage you to support for the most vulnerable. We need to continue this spirit the coming weeks and months to avoid more suffering.
The public and politicians need to hear the voices of marginalized peoples and civil society!
Let's start a movement for global solidarity and a just and ecological recovery now!
GCAP and other CSOs organized a mass social media movement on 22 May under the hashtag #StrongerTogether. The results were impressive: 6,000 posts which reached 43 million people & 126 million impressions in 100+ countries. Read more about the Global Day of Solidarity and see the materials below:
- GCAP Newsletter June 2020 – Global Solidarity Action! - 3 June 2020
- GCAP Newsletter May 2020 – 22/05: Global Solidarity Action – #StrongerTogether! - 20 May 2020
- GCAP toolkit of #StrongerTogether colorful example actions for global solidarity
- SolidarityinAction.org: #StrongerTogether microsite
- Covid Citizen Action campaign Trello board with graphics with key messages and sample posts
- #StrongerTogether Trello board – more materials and info!
Key information and statements
- COVID-19 : Global Joint Civil Society Statement - 24 April 2020
GCAP developed and signed together with several hundred organizations the following statement. See also the campaign website covidcitizenaction.org, where you can also sign the statement, see a map of global actions, and find our advocacy letter template.
- GCAP on COVID-19: Putting the Most Vulnerable First - 20 March 2020
The world is facing a global emergency affecting people and countries with no distinctions. In this particular time the Global Call for Action against Poverty (GCAP), with all its National Coalitions and Constituency Groups all over the world, wants to share its concerns and solidarity with all the people suffering from the coronavirus pandemic, and with all the communities struggling against the outbreak. Our political motto is “Stand Together” to struggle for justice, against poverty and inequalities. Today we want to stand together with those who are suffering, with victim’s families, and with all the affected communities. We also want to share a special thanks to all the people working to stop the outbreak, in the health systems and in all other fundamental services, and to the people assisting those who are in need. Read more.
- Results of GCAP survey on COVID-19 - May 7 2020
To better understand the responses and the needs that have arisen due to the COVID-19 crisis around the world, GCAP conducted a survey in April of the GCAP National Coalitions, of Civil Society Organisations and Constituency Groups. A total of 25 answers were received from 19 countries and two Constituency Groups - the Social Justice Task Force and the Women’s and Feminist Constituency Group.
- GCAP on Covid-19 and Racism - 30 April 2020
GCAP strongly condemns the recent cases of racism in relation with the Coronavirus pandemic and calls for strong reactions from governments, civil society and the international community.
Over 200 networks and organisations have signed a statement calling for cancellation of debt payments in 2020.
- Evacuate refugee camps to prevent a catastrophe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic - 24 March 2020
GCAP Europe together with 200 civil society organisations in Europe has signed an urgent appeal to the EU’s leading politicians and the head of the Greek government: “We urge you to evacuate the refugee camps and hotspots on the Greek islands immediately in order to prevent a catastrophe in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Leave No Woman Behind Statement
- Needs of Women with Disabilities Must Be Critically Addressed in the Fight Against COVID-19 - 22 May 2020
Statement by Social Justice Task Force
GCAP National CoalitionsAsia
- GCAP Asia statement released on the eve of 7th APFSD - 18 May 2020
- GCAP Afghanistan: GCAP Afghanistan / Afghanistan Global Civil Society Consortium Joint Statement on Prevention of COVID-19 - 25 March 2020
- GCAP Cambodia : Joint Statement on COVID-19 - 6 April 2020
- GCAP India: WNTA Statement on COVID-19 Emergency in India - 24 March 2020
- GCAP Japan: Now is the time to take measures based on the principles of the SDGs: Japan Civil Society Network on SDGs Statement on combating COVID-19 - 6 April 2020
- GCAP Nepal: An Appeal for Solidarity and Support to Cope with the Coronavirus (COVID 19) Pandemic in Nepal - 31 March 2020
- GCAP Pakistan:
- Pakistan CSOs Statement on COVID 19 Response by Government - 27 April 2020
- Statement from GCAP Pakistan on COVID-19 Outbreak - 25 March 2020
- GCAP Mauritius: GCAP Mauritius & Halley Movement Coalition Statement on COVID-19 - 2 April 2020
- GCAP Malawi: COVID-19 National Preparedness and Response - 31 March 2020
- GCAP Senegal: GCAP Senegal Position on COVID-19 - 2 April 2020
- GCAP Uganda: Statement on COVID-19 - 6 April 2020
- GCAP Zambia: Zambia and COVID-19 - 3 April 2020
- GCAP Zimbabwe:
- COVID-19: Promoting support for diverse communities in Zimbabwe - 31 March 2020
- NANGO newsletter documenting COVID-19 outbreak in Zimbabwe - 17 April 2020