Universal vaccination against Covid need of hour to save humanity, says Indian-American Congressman

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New Delhi, May 29 (PTI) Indian-American Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi has said it is the need of the hour to save humanity by way of universal vaccination against the coronavirus because no one would be safe if some people are left out.

Krishnamoorthi, who recently introduced a legislation in the US House of Representatives seeking to expand American aid to the coronavirus-hit countries like India, was speaking at a webinar organised by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) affiliate Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) on Friday.

'It's the need of the hour to save humanity by way of universal vaccination, which means vaccination to all people in the globe because if some people are left, no one would be safe,' the SJM quoted Krishnamoorthi as saying at the webinar.

The proposed Nullifying Opportunities for Variants to Infect and Decimate (NOVID) Act, introduced by Krishnamoorthi in the House of Representatives on May 19, is an expansive coronavirus prevention programme that seeks to ensure Americans are not subject to another deadly surge of the COVID-19 domestically.

Under the NOVID Act, the US would establish the USD 19 billion Pandemic Preparedness and Response Program (PanPReP) through the State Department, modelled on the President's Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), to oversee and coordinate the US global strategy for the COVID-19 pandemic.

'This would enhance funding for the vaccination of populations around the world,' Krishnamoorthi was quoted as saying at the webinar.

At the webinar, Washington DC-based Howard University professor Narendra Rustagi said, “For achieving universal vaccination, we may need a waiver from IPR and make use of voluntary licences as well as compulsory licences, maybe for a limited period. This may be a win-win situation for both the companies and society as a whole.” “Even in the US people have been affected disproportionately. Chances of more variants can multiply if the virus spreads further. Therefore, vaccination is thought to be the most trusted method to reduce the impact of the virus.” Convenor of the Swadeshi Jagran Manch R Sundaram emphasised on the urgency to decide on a proposal of India and South Africa in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) for a temporary waiver of certain provisions of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to boost the production of COVID-19 medical products.

'This is no time to look at profit and revenue. If humanity is saved, revenue and profit will ultimately come. It's in the interest of all to leave out profit and concentrate on Universal access to vaccines and medicines. There is a global consensus for TRIPS waiver. The world shouldn't wait for December. This matter should be decided, if possible, tomorrow,' he said. PTI PK SMN SMN

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