In response to the March 10 position by Canada at the WTO meeting on the TRIPS waiver on intellectual property and technology on COVID-19 vaccines, Diana Sarosi, Oxfam Canada’s Director of Policy and Campaigns said the following:
“Canada had an opportunity today to stand with over 100 countries calling for a waiver on intellectual property over COVID vaccines but instead stayed neutral on a proposal that could have been a game changer for tackling the pandemic.
We have seen the call for greater vaccine access and equity grow since the first COVID-19 vaccine was made available. Canada has shown leadership globally having invested in the COVAX facility last spring. But COVAX is not enough. There has been a huge gap from the beginning between wealthier nations that can get access to a vaccine this year, and poorer nations waiting until 2024 to vaccinate their citizens.
There is no excuse for richer countries to uphold intellectual property above the lives of healthcare workers in Bolivia and Mozambique. This is a feminist issue when we know that 70 per cent of the global healthcare workforce are women. Access to essential medicines including a vaccine must be seen as a right and COVID-19 vaccines must be made a public good that is free for all.
The time to act is now and Canada cannot continue to protect the profits of big pharma. A waiver is critical to scaling up vaccine production and Canada must work in solidarity with other nations and push for the approval of a TRIPS waiver at the upcoming G7 meeting in June.”
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