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Sunday, 6/30/2024, 8am - Making Contact

Survival for All: Securing Vaccines for the Global South. At the beginning of the pandemic, we reported on the extreme inequality of the vaccine rollout to low income countries. Their access was hindered because of a Western patent system which was imposed globally through the WTO. At the time, activists tried to pass the TRIPS (Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Waiver, which would have suspended all patents related to COVID. This would have allowed countries all over the world to make vaccines, therapeutics and protective equipment during the pandemic crisis. The TRIPS Waiver failed to provide access to medicines, and poor countries never received the vaccines they were promised.

But, as the world moved on from COVID, so did the efforts for equity. The TRIPS waiver failed to provide access to medicines, and poor countries never received the vaccines they were promised. Despite this, the Global South continues to fight back. On today’s show, we look back at the failures of the early pandemic and at new initiatives led by scientists and activists to circumvent patents and create broader access to medicines.