Today’s letters: The Ottawa doctor makes a difference in how to get more vaccines to developing countries

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Restoration of faith in humanity

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Re: “The doctor speaks out to incite change: Family doctor shakes twitter, mass media advocates for her patients,” Dec. 27.

Reading this article makes me feel hopeful that there are still good people in this world. They are few, but they make a difference. Dr. Nili Kaplan-Myrth, is without a doubt one of the few. She said “I had to take my hat off as a critical thinker” and I say we have to take our hats off and bow with respect to such a selfless person who spoke for her patients .

Her mini-biography said it all. She is open-minded, self-made, straightforward, fearless, determined and above all she is a mother, a doctor and a fighter for the best of people. My hope is that our politicians including our Prime Minister will recognize her and reward her with a medal for being Citizen of the Year.

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Badih Shadid, Ottawa

Test centers could be more COVID-safe

Do not get tested in Ottawa centers unless you want to expose yourself to COVID! My husband was not feeling well last week and went to a center in western Ottawa to be tested. Expecting to be left in his car until it was time, he was alerted, got off his N95 mask to put on a cheap useless mask, and then sat for an hour in a room with 100 other sick people. If he had not already had COVID, which was detected from the test, he is pretty sure he would have gotten it at the test center.

I do not know about you, but when someone is sick with a contagious disease that the government is fighting so hard to try to stem, someone could not figure out a way not to have 100 sick people all in the same room for an hour to wait for their test? Does this seem crazy to anyone else? In the US, where we recently visited, almost all tests are performed with people staying in their cars – when you think about it, it makes sense. Limit the contact, let them handle the sets themselves, do not expose the workers or others to them. When will the Ottawa healthcare system find that they must follow their own mandates to stay away from others, restrict people in the same space, and limit exposure to Covid?

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Pam Stewart, Ottawa

Patent rights and lack of vaccine

The current problem with the international distribution of vaccines is not just a matter of sharing. There are probably not enough facilities to produce mRNA vaccines to satisfy worldwide demand. It is partly, but not exclusively, a matter of patent rights. At the World Trade Organization, a number of low- and middle-income countries have proposed an exemption from patent rights to produce vaccines, treatments and tests during the pandemic. The European Union has opposed a proposal to simplify the existing compulsory licensing system, which gives countries the right to produce medicines and vaccines for export, but which requires payment. During 2021, US President Joe Biden said the US supports a waiver of patent rights to produce COVID vaccines, but it has not yet made a formal proposal in the WTO. The relevant bodies in the WTO work on a consensus basis so that disagreement from the EU or a single country would prevent change.

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That this is not solely a patent issue is illustrated by the fact that Moderna has said that it will not enforce its patent rights if a country is able to reverse its vaccine.

A further approach might be that a group of wealthy countries agree to buy a large number of doses at a certain rate per. dose for distribution in developing countries if produced under a voluntary license in existing facilities in those countries. This will give existing producers an incentive to enter into voluntary licensing agreements with production facilities in developing countries. It is more economically efficient to pay for vaccines produced at a lower license fee in developing countries than simply sharing vaccines sold to rich countries.

Bruce Couchman, Ottawa

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