Write your MP in support of a People’s Vaccine

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  • 12 Dec 2021
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A vaccine vial labeled COVID-19 Vaccine, and the text Vaccines for All

The People’s Vaccine

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In October 2020, South Africa and India made a joint proposal to temporarily waive certain obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) until the COVID-19 emergency is over. The waiver would mean WTO member states would not have to grant or enforce patents and other intellectual property rights covering COVID-19 drugs, vaccines, diagnostics, and other technologies such as masks and ventilators.

Little progress has been made in WTO discussions even though over 100 countries support the waiver. It’s time for Canada to step up.

This waiver proposal is not a panacea. But with these barriers and restrictions removed, WTO member states and the scientific community can continue working on developing and distributing new diagnostics, vaccines, medicines, and medical supplies, without fear of litigation risk and trade sanctions under the TRIPS Agreement.

People’s Lives Before Profit

As it stands now, vaccine technology and knowledge are being treated as private property by pharmaceutical corporations, despite much of this research being paid for by over $100 billions of taxpayers’ money. As communities across the world adapt to the “new normal” of the pandemic, it’s business as usual for pharmaceutical corporations. With their WTO-protected exclusive rights and monopolies, pharmaceutical companies are able to charge higher prices and inhibit the generic competition demonstrated time and again as key to bringing and keeping prices down, particularly for low- and middle-income countries.

Everyone, everywhere needs out of this pandemic as quickly as possible. Canada must be part of the global effort to save lives—not an obstacle. 

The proposal at the WTO to temporarily waive certain TRIPS Agreement restrictions would help break down barriers to scaling up the manufacture and supply of lifesaving COVID-19 medical tools across the world. Canada has maintained that it has not rejected this proposal. But Canada has also not said yes.

We call on the Canadian government to publicly support the waiver now.

In the short term, the federal government can take steps to authorize the domestic manufacturing of generic COVID-19 vaccines through Canada’s Access to Medicines Regime (CAMR). To make this happen, we’re calling on the federal government to add COVID-19 vaccines t0 Schedule 1 of the Patent Act so that Canadian manufacturers are able to produce generic COVID-19 vaccines under CAMR.

Help us spread the word. Use our tool below to write your Member of Parliament and let them know how important this issue is to you. This letter is also cc’d to the Ministers of Health, Foreign Affairs, and International Trade.