The world needs access to COVID-19 vaccines now! TRIPS Waiver update
The world needs at least 11 billon doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the global population of more than 7 billion now not 2024. Without urgent action, unequal access to COVID-19 vaccines is set to further entrench global inequality and prolong the pandemic for all of us.
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is currently negotiating a proposal sponsored by India and South Africa and supported by over 100 countries, to temporarily waive certain provisions of the WTO Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (Trips) Agreement on COVID-19 vaccines and medical products for the duration of the pandemic.
The TRIPS Waiver would enable the existing 20-year patents on these products to be waived and the ramping up of manufacturing capacity on a regional basis in countries like India and South Africa which are among the world’s largest producers of generic medicines.
Increased global manufacturing capacity for vaccines would also benefit Australia by both easing supply pressures and preventing the development of more infectious variants.
Shamefully, Australia and some EU countries are not currently supporting this WTO TRIPS Waiver, even as the mega profits of large pharmaceutical companies spirals higher on the back of drug monopolies and the big public funding they received for the development of those vaccines.
Australians push for the Government to support the TRIPS Waiver
Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA has joined with the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Friends of the Earth, Amnesty International Australia and the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) to commission independent polling of Australian voter’s views on this question. The Essential Media poll released last week shows that 62 per cent of Australians believe the Australian Government should support the effort to temporarily waive World Trade Organisation patent rules for COVID-19 vaccines to enable quicker and fairer access to vaccines for low-income countries. There were similar levels of majority support across Coalition, Labor and Greens voters. Only 10 per cent were opposed, with 27 per cent undecided.
No more delays! We call on Australia to support a TRIPS Waiver for vaccines and products related the COVID-19 pandemic!
Tell your federal MP to put people’s health first and support access to vaccines in low-income countries.