On May 1, 2022, the Trade Justice Network is calling for a National Day of Action for a People’s Vaccine
Only global solidarity can stop the twin viruses of COVID-19 and the far right
At the outset of the pandemic, Justin Trudeau declared that COVID-19 vaccines must be treated as “global public goods” that are “accessible, affordable and available to all.” World leaders assured us that the priority was saving lives and stopping the pandemic, not padding the bottom lines of corporations and their shareholders.
In short: a People’s Vaccine.
What we got instead were astronomical Big Pharma profits and a distribution of doses so unequal that health justice advocates have dubbed it “vaccine apartheid.” Globally, over 2.8 billion people have yet to get their first dose. The experts have been clear for 2 years: the pandemic will only end once the majority of the world is vaccinated.
On May 1st, International Workers Day, we come together to demand that Canada lift the patents, break the Big Pharma monopolies, free the vaccines, and end the pandemic!
Workers everywhere must have access to affordable vaccines and medicines, no matter where they live, so they can protect themselves and slow the spread of the virus. The pandemic has killed an estimated 18 million people around the world, disproportionately in lower-income countries where vaccination rates remain low.
Workers in Canada need global vaccine justice too, if we want to end the cycle of variants and save our health care system from breaking under the weight of each new wave.
Big Pharma has demonstrated that it has no interest in making vaccines accessible to all. We need to lift patents and other intellectual property rules protecting the vaccine monopolies so that countries can produce their own vaccines – something Canada has opposed at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for the last 18 months.
The Trade Justice Network calls on its supporters to form People’s Vaccine contingents and join the marches, rallies and other actions planned by local labour organizations, where possible.
Make May 1st a National Day of Action for a People’s Vaccine in Your Community!
Join the pan-Canadian organizing call on April 24 – find out how you can help organize a contingent or host an event for the day of action by registering here: Day of Action Organizing Call
This May Day, the Trade Justice Network will be in the streets to call on the Canadian government to:
- Join the U.S., New Zealand and over a hundred other countries in calling for waiver the Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) on vaccines, tests, treatments and other medical products at the WTO.
- Authorize Canadian companies like Biolyse Pharma to produce generic, made-in-Canada vaccines for export to lower-income countries.
- Reject the March 2022 “compromise” text put forward at the WTO by the EU, which would not substantially improve the accessibility and affordability of vaccines and other medical products.
Many provincial leaders have decided to pander to far right protesters and remove nearly all public health measures, effectively throwing the immunocompromised, the elderly and health care workers under the bus. But sticking our heads in the sand is not how we end the pandemic.
That’s why we will also be marching in support of wider measures to ensure that workers’ health and safety are protected during the pandemic – such as paid sick days, living wages, indoor masking and workplace ventilation standards – and against the privatization agenda targeting our public healthcare system.
Faced with an unpredictable and rapidly-evolving virus, the labour movement slogan “an injury to one is an injury to all” is more relevant than ever. Solidarity is what will defeat the virus and end this dark chapter of our history.
If your organization is interested in endorsing the Day of Action for a People’s Vaccine, please contact us by email.