The new coronavirus omicron variant is drawing attention to the unequal distribution of vaccines around the world and the issue of vaccine patents. Scientists first discovered the new variant in South Africa — a country where just over 24-percent of the population is fully vaccinated.
A recent study showed the world’s wealthiest nations – about 16 percent of the global population – have secured the vast majority of vaccine doses accounting for over 70 percent of the five leading vaccines available in 2021.
That’s created disparities like this: 60 percent of people across the European Union are vaccinated – while just 3.4% percent are across the African continent. There’s currently a petition before the World Trade Organization to have vaccine-patents temporarily waived. The EU and Germany, however, are opposed to the proposal. The WTO was supposed to discuss the issue today. But the meeting was canceled due to concerns over the variant.

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