Vigils Calling for Global Access to COVID Vaccines Held at German Consulates Across the United States

For Immediate Release

June 3, 2021

Health & Politics:

Vigils Calling for Global Access to COVID Vaccines Held at German Consulates Across the United States

Activists Remember Loved Ones Lost to COVID-19 & Urge German Government to Support the “TRIPS Waiver” to Prevent More from Dying

New York, N.Y. — Americans will gather at the German consular offices in New York, Houston and Dallas starting today to remember those who have died from COVID-19 and to call on the German government to support policies needed to increase global access to vaccines and treatments.  The vigils come just days before a major international meeting where governments will discuss waiving intellectual property rights to enable more COVID vaccine, diagnostic and treatment production.  The German government is one of the last holdouts against that waiver.

“Ending a global pandemic requires global solutions.  While Texans increasingly have widespread access to COVID vaccination, huge numbers of people around the world aren’t expected to have access to a vaccine for years unless global production is dramatically increased,” said Bob Cash of the Texas Fair Trade Coalition.  “We’re calling on the German government to stand with the more than one hundred countries around the world in supporting the intellectual property waiver that’s needed for COVID vaccines and treatments to be produced in as many places as possible as quickly as possible.”

Holding signs reading “Delay = Death,” vigil attendees are reading the names of loved ones lost to COVID-19 and holding a moment of silence in their honor.  Organizers are also delivering letters calling on Germany to support the emergency waiver of “Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights” (TRIPS) at the World Trade Organization (WTO) that was first introduced by India and South Africa and would enable COVID vaccines and treatments to be produced in more locations.  The waiver proposal will be discussed at the WTO’s TRIPS Council meeting on June 8 and 9.

“Over 12,000 people are dying of COVID every day,” said George Kimball of the New York Trade Justice Coalition.  “The idea that any country would prioritize pharmaceutical companies’ profits over saving as many lives as possible and ending this pandemic is an outrage.  Governments need to get together and approve the TRIPS waiver now.”

The United States, Russia and China recently announced their support for a TRIPS waiver for COVID vaccines, joining over 100 other nations who had earlier backed the concept.  Germany is increasingly isolated in its opposition.

Additional actions in support of the TRIPS waiver outside German embassies and consulates in the United States are being planned in Alabama, California and Washington, DC.