SYRIZA-government confrontation over the lifting of vaccine patents proposal

Regarding the issue of vaccine patents and a call by main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance to make them freely available in all countries, government sources on Thursday accused the main opposition of seeking to “cultivate impressions” and generate “positive publicity”, while pointing out that the proposal for the use of patents as a global good was first made by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis – in support of a proposal by Elias Mossialos – and published in the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” newspaper on April 6, 2020.

Mitsotakis then followed this up with his speech on May 4, 2020, at the Coronavirus Donor Conference, in the context of the international initiative Coronavirus Global Response, in which he stated: “Discovering and proving the effectiveness of a vaccine will be one of the main challenges. But that alone is not enough. The vaccine must be produced in sufficient quantities in the shortest possible time. It must be available, at an affordable price, to the entire world population, starting with the most vulnerable. It must be distributed worldwide equally. I therefore endorse the call of other leaders who have taken part in this conference that the vaccine – whenever it is invented – should be declared a global public good. I think this is a principle we have to agree on and an important message that we all need to send today.”
“And this position is still valid,” they added.

The same sources noted that “Mr. Tsipras appeared much later, to say that in this way the problem of vaccines in Greece could be solved at a time when the country was struggling to obtain vaccines, and the Greek pharmaceutical companies said that even if they had the patents they could not produce them.”

“It is the same period in which Mr. Tsipras expressed doubts about the vaccination programme prepared by the government, saying on November 6 that ‘they are giving us a vaccine that does not exist’ while SYRIZA, on January 11, said that ‘immunity will not be achieved in 2021,’ and at the same time he expressed his opposition to Mitsotakis’ proposal for a ‘green’ European certificate,” they underlined.

Finally, they said that “it would be good for SYRIZA, to stop mounting a negative opposition to everything and contribute to the vaccination campaign in order to convince all our fellow citizens to get the vaccine.”

SYRIZA: Government should submit an official proposal to the EU

Main opposition SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance, in an announcement on Thursday, said that the government should submit a request to the European Union for the lifting of vaccine patents.

“It would be better if the government and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, instead of making fools of themselves, were to find the courage, even at this late stage, to admit their mistake and even now submit an official proposal to the European Commission for the lifting of vaccine patents,” the announcement said.

The main opposition party noted that its proposal at the start of 2021 for the lifting of patents on vaccines was tabled by SYRIZA-Progressive Alliance MEPs and MPs at both the European Parliament and the Council of Europe, and raised during a phone call between SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and the head of the World Health Organisation Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. It also pointed out that “the proposal was finally officially adopted by the Council of Europe, the WHO and now the US government.”