2021 HRC Res­o­lu­tion on ensuring equitable, affordable, timely and universal access for all countries to vaccines in response to COVID-19

HRC 46th ses­sion

Analysis of precedential value

This UN Human Rights Coun­cil (HRC) res­o­lu­tion was adopted with­out a vote in March 2021. The HRC is com­posed of elected rep­re­sen­ta­tives from 47 Mem­ber States; together, they are respon­si­ble for coor­di­nat­ing inves­ti­ga­tions of and responses to human rights vio­la­tions.

Used as precedent

access to health products, universal health coverage

Rec­og­niz­ing fur­ther that uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age implies that all peo­ple have access with­out dis­crim­i­na­tion to nation­ally deter­mined sets of needed pro­mo­tive, pre­ven­tive, cura­tive, pal­lia­tive and reha­bil­i­ta­tive essen­tial health-care ser­vices and essen­tial, safe, afford­able, effec­tive and qual­ity med­i­cines and vac­cines, while ensur­ing that the use of these ser­vices does not expose users to finan­cial hard­ship, with spe­cial empha­sis on the poor, vul­ner­a­ble and mar­gin­al­ized seg­ments of the pop­u­la­tionEmpha­sizes the urgent need to ensure the right of every­one to the enjoy­ment of the high­est attain­able stan­dard of phys­i­cal and men­tal health and to facil­i­tate the devel­op­ment of robust health sys­tems and uni­ver­sal health cov­er­age, encom­pass­ing uni­ver­sal, timely and equi­table access to all essen­tial health tech­nolo­gies, diag­nos­tics, ther­a­peu­tics, med­i­cines and vac­cines in response to the COVID-19 pan­demic and other health emer­gen­cies, in order to ensure full access to immu­niza­tion for all, in par­tic­u­lar per­sons and groups in vul­ner­a­ble sit­u­a­tions, as a mat­ter of global pri­or­ity for all States

access to health products, pharmaceutical transparency

Stress­ing the impor­tance of improv­ing the trans­parency of mar­kets for med­i­cines, vac­cines and other health prod­ucts across the whole value chain, and tak­ing note of World Health Assem­bly res­o­lu­tion WHA72.8 of 28 May 2019Requests all States, inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions and rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers to com­mit to trans­parency in all mat­ters relat­ing to the pro­duc­tion, dis­tri­bu­tion and fair pric­ing of vac­cines, in accor­dance with national and regional legal frame­works, and urges States to take imme­di­ate steps to pre­vent spec­u­la­tion and undue export con­trols and stock­pil­ing that may hin­der afford­able, timely, equi­table and uni­ver­sal access for all coun­tries to COVID-19 vac­cines

key and vulnerable populations

Calls for inten­si­fied inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion and sol­i­dar­ity to con­tain, mit­i­gate and over­come the pan­demic and its con­se­quences, includ­ing the human rights impli­ca­tions, through responses that are peo­ple-cen­tred, gen­der-respon­sive, mul­ti­di­men­sional, coor­di­nated, inclu­sive, inno­v­a­tive, swift and deci­sive at all lev­els, with full respect for human rights, includ­ing by sup­port­ing the exchange of infor­ma­tion, sci­en­tific knowl­edge and best prac­tices and enhanc­ing main­te­nance capac­ity, in par­tic­u­lar to assist peo­ple in vul­ner­a­ble sit­u­a­tions, includ­ing all migrants, and the poor­est and most vul­ner­a­ble coun­tries, to build a more equi­table, inclu­sive, sus­tain­able and resilient future and to real­ize the 2030 Agenda for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment

access to health products, publicly funded research

Encour­ages States to work in part­ner­ship with all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers to increase research and devel­op­ment fund­ing for vac­cines and med­i­cines, lever­age dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies and strengthen the sci­en­tific inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion nec­es­sary to com­bat COVID-19 and to bol­ster coor­di­na­tion, includ­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor, towards the fur­ther devel­op­ment, man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion of diag­nos­tics, antivi­ral med­i­cines, per­sonal pro­tec­tive equip­ment and vac­cines while adher­ing to the objec­tives of qual­ity, effi­cacy, safety, equity, acces­si­bil­ity and afford­abil­ity

access to health products, alternative r&d models

Reit­er­ates the call for States to con­tinue to col­lab­o­rate, as appro­pri­ate, on mod­els and approaches that sup­port the delink­ing of the cost of new research and devel­op­ment from the prices of med­i­cines, vac­cines and diag­nos­tics for dis­eases, to ensure their sus­tained acces­si­bil­ity, afford­abil­ity and avail­abil­ity and to sup­port access to treat­ment for all those in need

access to health products

Calls upon States and all rel­e­vant stake­hold­ers to pro­mote research and capac­ity-build­ing ini­tia­tives, and to enhance coop­er­a­tion on and access to sci­ence, inno­va­tion, tech­nolo­gies, tech­ni­cal assis­tance and knowl­edge-shar­ing, to ensure uni­ver­sal, equi­table and afford­able access for all per­sons to COVID-19 vac­cines, includ­ing through improved coor­di­na­tion among mech­a­nisms, espe­cially with devel­op­ing coun­tries, in a col­lab­o­ra­tive, coor­di­nated and trans­par­ent man­ner and on mutu­ally agreed terms, in response to the COVID-19 pan­demic and towards advanc­ing the real­iza­tion of the Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment GoalsReaf­firms the right of States to use the pro­vi­sions of the World Trade Orga­ni­za­tion Agree­ment on Trade-Related Aspects of Intel­lec­tual Prop­erty Rights (TRIPS Agree­ment) and the flex­i­bil­i­ties therein, as reaf­firmed in the Doha Dec­la­ra­tion on the TRIPS Agree­ment and Pub­lic Health, in which it is rec­og­nized that the agree­ment should be inter­preted and imple­mented in a man­ner sup­port­ive of the right of States to pro­tect pub­lic health, in par­tic­u­lar to pro­mote access to med­i­cines for all, to facil­i­tate access for all to COVID-19 vac­cines and to bol­ster coor­di­na­tion, includ­ing with the pri­vate sec­tor, towards the rapid devel­op­ment, man­u­fac­tur­ing and dis­tri­bu­tion of vac­cines, while adher­ing to the objec­tives of trans­parency, effi­cacy, safety, equity, acces­si­bil­ity and afford­abil­ity

digital health

Urges States to lever­age dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies for the response to COVID-19, includ­ing in sup­port of effi­cient, trans­par­ent and robust immu­niza­tion, address­ing the socioe­co­nomic impact of COVID-19, pay­ing par­tic­u­lar atten­tion to dig­i­tal inclu­sion, patient empow­er­ment and the right to pri­vacy and pro­tec­tion of per­sonal data