Solidarity with Workers Internationally for Vaccine Justice

Oct 29, 2021


Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA received an important question from a supporter:

What is the Australian union movement doing to support workers in countries where they haven’t even had their first dose yet? While we are getting our second, and discussing booster shots, there are workers in many parts of the world who haven’t had access to the vaccine at all. This is a big issue, but these workers deserve our solidarity. 

At Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA we agree and stand in solidarity with workers Internationally.

We understand that the global pandemic has yet again tragically exposed and exacerbated the inequality and disparity within and between countries and regions in regard human rights, health rights, worker’s rights and highlighted the total crime against humanity of unequal access to vaccines and treatments.  

The union movement globally, nationally and through Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA have been campaigning to achieve vaccine and treatment access for all at affordable prices and for governments and pharmaceutical companies in this global emergency, to put people before mega profits on the back of publicly subsidised cost of the vaccines they developed.   


Our solidarity has included:  

1. APHEDA and ACTU are working on the campaign for a waiver on patent rules relating to COVID19 response at the WTO.

We have been doing this work in in collaboration with several other agencies including AFTINET, Amnesty, Oxfam and Action Aid.  

You can catch up on some of the many actions we have been doing in the links below to pressure the Australian Government and pharmaceutical companies on this. This includes a petition with ACTU and APHEDA that gained over 12,000 signatures as part of a total of 52,000 by combined agencies. We also co-funded polling via Essential Media to help convince the government of public support. ACTU leadership has been strongly pushing this in media as well.  

2. At Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA we are helping our partners globally to respond to the crisis as we can. 

This includes in Indonesia where the ongoing eliminating asbestos related diseases campaign adapted to helping the COVID response of trade unions in Indonesia in 2020 and continues now with a mix of support to both COVID response and asbestos ban campaigning. We also moved focus to include COVID19 responses in other countries and regions during 2020 such as Thai/Myanmar boarder, Philippines, Timor Leste and Lebanon/Palestine. You can read more on some of these below. 

3. ITUC ‘L20’ Statement to the G20 Leader’s Summit

Despite early success in the development of Covid-19 vaccines, less than two per cent of the population in many developing countries are vaccinated. The IMF has identified persisting vaccine inequality as the biggest threat to a global recovery.

View and download the L20 Statement

4. Video from the Peoples Vaccine Alliance

In the race against COVID-19, none of us will cross the finish line unless we all do. Leaders are meeting in Rome for the #G20 soon. They MUST act so that we can:
  • Lift vaccine patents
  • Share vaccine technology
  • Let ALL countries make their own vaccines

Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA COVID response is supported by individual and trade union donations and Australian Aid.  

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