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Press release Covid-19 vaccine must be free for all
Phnom Penh, 21 May 2020— The Coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on all our
lives in Cambodia and around the world. While we are each doing our part to prevent
the spread, and while frontline healthcare workers risk their lives to care for the sick,
researchers are racing to find the one thing that will protect all of us in the long run – a
vaccine. The vaccine will become the currency of life and death especially for a country
like Cambodia where the healthcare system still need to be improved.
The greatest challenge is ensuring everyone on the planet gets the vaccine as quickly
as possible and free of charge. This is the only way to protect us all from another
COVID-19 pandemic. However, the risk is extremely high that the richest will be allowed
to buy themselves protection, while the rest of us particularly women, girls and the
poorest get pushed to the back of the line.
Oxfam together with Cooperation Committee for Cambodia (CCC), NGO Forum, Health
Action Coordinating Committee (HACC) and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), jointly
organize a month long social media campaign starting from 21 May 2020 to 20 June
2020 to mobilize a million supporters to send message to world leaders that When a
COVID-19 vaccine is found, it must be free and fairly distributed to everyone on
Ms. Solinn Lim, Country Director of Oxfam, said: “To end this pandemic and save
millions of lives, we need a safe and effective vaccine that is delivered for free to
everyone on earth who needs it, as soon as possible. The world must urgently agree on
a fully funded plan to develop, produce and fairly distribute a safe and effective vaccine
as a global public good. Patents and profit cannot in anyway block the distribution of
vaccines and treatments to all who need them.”
Mr. Soeung Saroeun, Executive Director of Cooperation Committee for Cambodia
noticed the principle of “Leave No One Behind” that world leaders promised in the
Sustainable Development Goals. The development, the production, and the fair, safe
and effective distribution of vaccine for all is a testament for the above principle
implementation. Vaccine is for all and we all are fighting this covid19 pandemic.
Mr. Tek Vannara, Executive Director of the NGO Forum on Cambodia, said: “All world
leaders need to pay more attention to ensure that the world has an adequate flow of
resources, including financial, technical, equipment, research expertise on vaccines,
medicines and information to prevent and fight against the Covid-19. Upcoming
vaccines must be distributed or provided on a fair and equitable to everyone, especially
those suffering from the disease, and those vulnerable people at risk of the spread of
In 2009, during the swine flu pandemic, rich nations made large advanced orders for the
vaccine from manufacturers, meaning that the rest of the world received the vaccine in
much lower quantities and much slower. They were unable to vaccinate their citizens.
Since the outbreak of Coronavirus, rich nations have been trying to monopolise access
to other vital supplies, such as oxygen, diagnostic tests, ventilators and personal
protective equipment (PPE). The head of the African Centre for Disease Control (CDC)
has written about how African nations have found themselves forced to the back of the
queue, being told they will have to wait six months for vital equipment as it has all been
bought by rich nations.
All of this suggests that the risk that a vaccine, when discovered, will only be available
to the lucky few, and tailor-made for profit, not for the people who need it most.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Naratevy Kek
Communications Coordinator, Oxfam
Tel: 012847412 /E: Naratevy.Kek@oxfam.org
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