Four Northumberland organizations send an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau

They want to waive COVID-19 vaccine patent protections

The Northumberland chapters of Amnesty International and the Council of Canadians, the Northumberland Coalition Against Poverty, and the Northumberland Coalition for Social Justice are congratulating the Biden administration for its decision to support a World Trade Organization (WTO) proposal to waive COVID-19 vaccine patent protections.

This announcement is, as the head of the World Health Organization stated, a “monumental moment”. The proposed waiver of intellectual property rights for these vaccines is, without doubt, a key to winning the global struggle against the virus.

Positive though the recent US announcement is, missing still is a sense of urgency as India faces the abyss, they say. The next regularly scheduled WTO Council meeting is over a month away by which time some 120,000 more Indians may have perished.

Days before the Biden announcement, the four Northumberland organizations sent an open letter to Prime Minister Trudeau asking that Canada request an emergency meeting of the WTO TRIPS Council to discuss the vaccine waiver proposal. This proposal was first put forward over six months ago by India and South Africa. They are reiterating their call for Canada to stop obstructing a vote on this proposal and join the USA, France, and over 100 other nations in support of a worldwide patent waiver.

If this pandemic is not an emergency nothing is they claim. Millions around the world have already been infected, and many have died.  Millions more may soon perish as many low and middle-income countries have either no access to vaccines or the means to pay the prices being demanded by a handful of vaccine manufacturers.

This proposed patent waiver is not only the right thing to do, it is also the policy that will place Canada on the right side of history. Our common humanity demands that we act now the group says.

Our call for action by the Canadian government can be found here:

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#councilofcanadians, #northumberlandcoalitionagainstpoverty, #northumberlandcoalitionforsocialjustice, #patentwaiver

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