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Vaccine experts swipe at Meghan and Harry after jab speech – ‘Wrong answer’

Harry and Meghan: Jobson on 'ill-informed' vaccine appeal

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In the speech, held at Global Citizen’s 24h live stream event in New York, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex condemned the global statues of vaccine equity and called for the intellectual property for the vaccine recipes to be waived. 

However, vaccine experts claim pharmaceutical companies distributing Covid-19 recipes without a fee may not tackle international vaccine inequity.

Thomas Cueni, director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations, responded to Meghan and Harry’s claims of pharmaceutical companies not doing enough to solve vaccine inequity around the world.

He told the Telegraph: “We agree with the Sussexes that action is needed now to ensure Covid-19 vaccines are quickly and equitably shared around the world.”

“Waiving intellectual property rights of Covid-19 vaccines will not increase production nor provide practical solutions needed to battle this global health crisis.

“As we have consistently stated, a waiver is the simple, but wrong, answer to what is a complex problem.

“Since we now have billions of vaccines that have been produced and many more in the pipeline, calls for waiving IP is a distraction.”

Mr Cueni added that trade barriers, lack of raw materials, supply chain bottlenecks and a reluctance among rich countries to share doses were the real challenges.

During their speech, the Duke and Duchess Sussex urged first world countries to donate one billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries.

Prince Harry said: “This week we sat with independent global health leaders to further understand how we get closer to vaccine equity and ending this health crisis.

“But we’re battling more than this virus alone. This is a battle of misinformation, bureaucracy, lack of transparency and lack of access. Above all this is a human rights crisis.”

“[Experts] said many countries are ready to produce vaccines at home but they aren’t allowed to because ultra-wealthy pharmaceutical companies are not sharing the recipes to make them.

Meghan added: “Every single person on this planet has a fundamental right to get this vaccine. That’s a point but that is not happening.

“And while in this country and many others you can go almost anywhere and get vaccinated, billions of people around the world cannot.

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“This year the world is meant to reach the target of vaccinating 70 percent of people in every single country, but it is wrong that so much of the vaccine supply has only gone to ten wealthy nations so far and not everyone else. It’s just not ok.”

Meghan continued: “And when we view this as a humanitarian crisis, which it is, control over a vaccine that can help save lives should not be solely in the hands of the fortunate few.”

Dr Simon Clarke, associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading also responded to Meghan and Harry’s claims.

He told the Telegraph: “People often assume that there is a single patent behind each vaccine, there is not, there are multiple patents and they would all have to be opened.

“With the RNA vaccines in particular, I don’t believe that there are many places in the developing world that could manufacture them at scale.”

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