Health Coalition joins call for international “vaccine equity”
“Nobody is safe until everyone is safe,” said Canadian Health Coalition chairperson Pauline Worsfold, RN to Matt Galloway, host of CBC’s The Current.
On Monday, nurses unions from around the world went to the United Nations with a complaint against wealthy nations they accuse of blocking drug patent waivers that are essential to vaccine access in developing countries and keeping health workers safe.
In Canada, the Canadian Health Coalition, Amnesty International, Oxfam, and nearly 50 others similarly called on the federal government to support developing countries seeking a World Trade Organization waiver on the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) agreement, also known as a TRIPS waiver.
In an open letter to Canadian International Trade Minister Mary Ng, the groups said, “the consequences of a failure to adopt the TRIPS waiver could be millions of lives, both in those countries that have little or no access to necessary products and technologies and in countries such as Canada where residents continue to be vulnerable to new variants of COVID-19.” The petition was remarkably prescient, given it was delivered just days before the discovery of the new omicron variant of COVID-19.
Joining with the Canadian Health Coalition, members and affiliated groups that signed the open letter include the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions, Council of Canadians, Friends of MediCare, Inter Pares, and the Nova Scotia Health Coalition.
- Read the text of the November 24, 2021 open letter to Minister Mary Ng at http://www.socialrights.ca/2021/TRIPS%20Letter.pdf