Four arrests made at ‘People’s Vaccine’ protests outside AstraZeneca in Cambridge
Four people were arrested as activists protested outside an AstraZeneca building in Cambridge, calling for Covid-19 vaccine technology to be openly licensed.
Among those held were a 17-year-old boy from Cambridge who was arrested on suspicion of assault on an emergency worker.
Police confirmed that a 22-year-old person from Cambridge and a 20-year-old woman from Essex were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.
And a 49-year-old woman from Cambridge was arrested on suspicion of obstructing a police officer.
A police spokesperson said on Tuesday: “All four suspects remain in custody and an investigation is ongoing.”
The group Global Justice Now organised the protest, demanding that the Cambridge-headquartered biopharmaceutical company openly licenses its Covid-19 vaccine and commits to sharing the technology and know-how with the World Health Organization (WHO).
Activists hung up banners on the roof of the entrance to the company’s Hills Road offices. Some individuals chained themselves to doors.
Speakers said that the vaccine technology should be shared with all, and urged the company to sign up to the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) set up by WHO to share knowledge.
AstraZeneca pointed out that it is producing and distributing the vaccine at no profit during the pandemic.
It is supplying the vaccine to 165 countries around the world and has provided more than 95 per cent of Covid-19 vaccine doses supplied under the COVAX agreement.
COVAX, led by Gavi, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, aims to accelerate the development and manufacture of Covid-19 vaccines, and to guarantee fair and equitable access for every country in the world.
AstraZeneca has supplied 300 million doses so far around the world.