Oxfam Says Rich Nations Have Cornered Half Of Future COVID-19 Vaccine Supply

File photo: A Sinovac Biotech LTD vaccine candidate for COVID-19 coronavirus is seen on display at the China International Fair for Trade in Services (CIFTIS) in Beijing on September 6, 2020. (Photo by NOEL CELIS / AFP)

 

 

A group of wealthy nations representing 13 per cent of the global population have already bought up more than half of the promised doses of future Covid-19 vaccines, according to a report by Oxfam on Wednesday.

The non-governmental organization analyzed deals struck by pharmaceuticals and vaccine producers for the five leading vaccine candidates currently in late-stage trials, based on data collected by the analytics company Airfinity.

“Access to a life-saving vaccine shouldn’t depend on where you live or how much money you have,” said Robert Silverman of Oxfam America.

“The development and approval of a safe and effective vaccine is crucial but equally important is making sure the vaccines are available and affordable to everyone. Covid-19 anywhere is Covid-19 everywhere.”

The five vaccines analyzed were from AstraZeneca, Gamaleya/Sputnik, Moderna, Pfizer and Sinovac.

 

In this file photo taken on August 13, 2020, a lab technician sorts blood samples for a COVID-19 vaccination study at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida. CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP)

 

Oxfam calculated the combined production capacity of these five vaccine candidates at 5.9 billion doses, enough for three billion people given that all five future vaccines will or are highly likely to require two doses.

Supply deals have so far been agreed for 5.3 billion doses, of which 2.7 billion (51 per cent) have been bought by developed countries, territories and regions, including the US, UK, European Union, Australia, Hong Kong and Macau, Japan, Switzerland and Israel.

The remaining 2.6 billion doses have been bought by or promised to develop countries including India, Bangladesh, China, Brazil, Indonesia and Mexico, among others.

The non-profit added that one of the leading candidates, developed by Moderna, has received $2.5 billion in committed taxpayers’ money, but has said it intends to make a profit and has sold the options for all its supply to rich nations.

Oxfam and other organizations are therefore calling for a “people’s vaccine” free of charge, distributed fairly based on need.

“This will only be possible if pharmaceutical corporations allow vaccines to be produced as widely as possible by freely sharing their knowledge free of patents, instead of protecting their monopolies and selling to the highest bidder,” Oxfam said.

It added that the estimated cost of providing a vaccine for everyone on Earth was less than one per cent of the projected cost of Covid-19 to the global economy.

AFP

Oxfam Apologises To Haiti Government Over Sex Scandal

Oxfam Apologises To Haiti Over Sex Scandal
Minister of Planning and External Cooperation, Aviol Fleurant (L), speaks during a meeting with Oxfam Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, Simon Ticehurst (C), and Oxfam Intermon Executive Affiliate Unit head, Margalida Massot(2-R), in Port-au-Prince, on February 19, 2018.   HECTOR RETAMAL / AFP

 

Oxfam formally apologised to Haiti Monday over the prostitution scandal rocking the aid charity, expressing its “shame” and vowing to do better as it handed over a damning internal report into the allegations.

Made public earlier in the day, Oxfam’s 2011 report into the behaviour of aid workers sent to Haiti following a devastating earthquake revealed that a former top official admitted to paying for sex and that three staff physically threatened a witness.

“We came here to share the report with the minister and express our shame and apologies to the Haitian government and to the Haitian people,” said Simon Ticehurst, Oxfam’s regional director for Latin America and the Caribbean.

“We’ve taken lots of measures to improve internal safeguarding measures,” he said following a more than two-hour meeting with Haiti’s minister of planning and external cooperation, Aviol Fleurant, who had summoned the charity to explain itself.

Oxfam’s 2011 report, compiled in the year after aid workers were deployed to Haiti, revealed that seven staff were accused of using prostitutes at an Oxfam-funded residence.

Country director Roland Van Hauwermeiren admitted paying for sex and was offered a “phased and dignified exit” of resignation if he cooperated with the inquiry.

‘Physical’ threats

The report also said three Oxfam employees were involved in “physically threatening and intimidating” a witness who spoke to the investigators.

Four staff were fired for gross misconduct and three others, including Van Hauwermeiren, were allowed to quit.

Details of the Haiti scandal surfaced earlier this month and have engulfed Oxfam, drawing widespread condemnation and putting its funding at risk.

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday described the matter as “horrific,” adding that “it was far below the standards that we expect for the charities and the NGOs that we’re working with.”

“We will not work with anybody who does not meet the high standards that we set and we believe are important,” May added during a visit to a London school.

The charity has been suspended from bidding for new government funding until it undertakes reforms.

Oxfam has denied trying to cover up the allegations but admitted it could have been more open at the time, saying it was publishing the report “in recognition of the breach of trust that has been caused.”

The Haitian government has expressed outrage and launched its own inquiry.

Haitian President Jovenel Moise tweeted last week that there was “nothing more unworthy or dishonest than a sexual predator who uses his position as part of the humanitarian response to a natural disaster to exploit needy people in their moment of great vulnerability.”

AFP

Boko Haram Insurgency: Agencies Say Six Million People Face Famine

Famine, Boko Haram Insurgency, Aid Agencies Aid agencies have warned that at least six million people in Nigeria, Niger, Chad and Cameroon face famine as a result of Boko Haram violence.

Oxfam, the international rescue committee and catholic relief services also warned that more than 65,000 people were living in severe hunger in pockets of Northeast Nigeria.

They added that over one million others were “one step away” from famine.

A statement issued by the Country Director for Nigeria for Action Against Hunger, Mr Yannick Pouchalan, stated that the groups have seen families who have not eaten for days with many begging for food.

The agencies claimed that conflict and counter-insurgency operations have led to farmlands, rivers and lakes being cut off from communities in and around the Lake Chad area that rely on agriculture and fishing to feed themselves.

Over six years of insurgency has left the region devastated.

Malnutrition-in-northeast-Nigeria-Unicef
UNICEF says children, pregnant women and nursing mothers are severely malnourished in Nigeria’s northeast

Boko Haram terrorists are pushing for the establishment of an Islamic State and an end to Western education in the region, an agitation that has displaced over two million persons from the northeast.

The agencies statement on famine in the region and some neighbouring countries is coming weeks after UNICEF raised alarm of malnutrition in the region.

The UN agency had said if fears that 49,000 children are at risk of death if they do not get nutritious foods in the shortest possible time.

We Are Making Progress – Activists Speak On International Women’s Day

The Programmes Officer, OXFAM Abuja, Chioma Ukwuagu has attributed the imminent success of the Violence Against Persons Bill to advocacy for women’s right.

Speaking about the essence of the International Women’s Day celebration on our breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily; Ukwuagu said “It is an opportunity to advocate for change… We use the International Women’s Day as a platform to advocate to government and organisations to give ladies space to realise their potentials.”

She further stated that the International Women’s Day also serves as a day to empower and encourage women to take up responsibility in the society and contribute to the development of the country.

Asked if all efforts made towards women empowerment have been effective, Ms. Ukwagu affirmed that there has been improvement.

“We have gone beyond many obstacles” she said.

She cited an example of the Act on Violence Against Persons (VAP) bill, that recently passed second hearing and approved by the House of Representatives to be passed into law, which she states was achieved by advocacy.

However advocacy “is never ending,” she said. “We will continue to sensitise the populace and engage citizens on the rights of women.”

A Promise Is A Promise

The Executive Director, Legal Defence and Assistance Project, Adaobi Egboka speaking about the theme of this year’s IWD celebration, A Promise Is A Promise, states that it is time to call the different tiers of government to action and remind them of promises made concerning women.

Mrs. Egoka explained that the government needs to attend to all bills concerning women as legal backing will encourage the women folk to claim rights that are already in existence.

She admits that many advocacy groups have a hard time achieving their goals in the face of delayed justice.

She faults the Nigerian Legal System which hardly metes out adequate justice to offenders; one of the reasons many women choose to keep quiet as victims of domestic violence and discrimination.

She decried the average Nigerian woman’s mentality which sees marriage as a ‘gift’ to be embraced and endured irrespective of the treatment meted on the woman by the man.

She explained that the average Nigerian woman has been conditioned to bear domestic violence as a ‘cross’ which comes with marriage, hence they do not want to speak out.

“Those who are speaking out, you see that when they speak out nothing is done. A girl is raped and there is judgment of option of N50,000 or a year imprisonment which is after 3 or 4 years.

So in whose interest is the justice system, ” she asked.

She further stated that domestic violence and rape are two prevalent issues concerning women in the country and she blamed domestic violence on improper negotiation.