The Guardian • Issue #1965

ACTU calls on government to save lives and support a waiver on vaccine patents

ACTU Statement

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #1965

Australia is just one of twelve countries stopping a waiver on patents for COVID-19 products which would allow developing countries to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. The ACTU calls on the Federal Government to change their position at tomorrow’s (8th June) meeting of the WTO Trade Related-Aspects Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Council.

At the current rate developing countries in Asia, Latin America and Africa will not receive required vaccinations until 2023 or later, and a temporary waiver would enable them to ramp up production of vaccines, PPE and lifesaving tech such as respirators.

ACTU President Michele O’Neil stated that “The Morrison Government is currently siding with big pharma who are profiteering during a global pandemic – it is imperative that they support the effort to end the pandemic as soon as possible and support India and South Africa’s waiver proposal at the TRIPS Council meeting.”

By stalling negotiations and refusing to support a waiver, the Federal Government is siding with big pharmaceutical companies who are protecting their exclusive patents and huge profits during a global pandemic.

A waiver would save lives and ensure that we emerge from the pandemic sooner.

Experts believe the world has less than a year before mutations render the majority of first-generation vaccines ineffective – there is no time to waste.

Almost 12,000 people signed a petition run by the ACTU and Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA calling on the Australian Government to support the waiver. The petition was handed over at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in Sydney 7th June.

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