UNION WIN: Federal government to support IP waiver for COVID vaccines
After months of campaigning from union and advocacy organisations – including the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association – Federal Trade Minister Dan Tehan has finally announced that the federal government will support an international push to waive intellectual property (IP) protections for COVID-19 vaccines.
The federal government has finally supported a push for the waiver, which has been led by third world countries such as India and China, who have struggled to provide adequate vaccines to their populations due to the costs associated with IP protections.
The Biden administration in the United States had previously indicated its support for the waiver, however the Australian government had been non-committal on the topic until today.
It is hoped that the IP waivers will assist with the international COVID-19 vaccine rollout.
Minister Tehan said that his government would “do everything [they] can to expand the production of vaccines globally because we need everyone across the globe to get access to a vaccine, ultimately, to be able to be safe”.
Michael Whaites, Manager of Public Health Organising at the NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association has welcomed the government’s announcement.
“Whilst rich countries are contemplating their 3rd dose, many healthcare workers in developing nations have a long wait for their first. The current approach to mass distribution is inadequate so we must see the release of the patent,” Whaites said.
“Our global safety must come before the profits of a small number of pharmaceutical companies. We welcome the Trade Minister’s statements that will see Australia standing up for the human right to healthcare which in this case means equitable access to safe and effective vaccines as soon as possible.
“None of us are safe until we are all safe”.
The NSW Nurses and Midwives’ Association wishes to thank our campaign partners Public Services International, Australian Council of Trade Unions, Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA, and the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network for their contributions to this win.