OTTAWA — In light of the emergence of the new Omicron version of the concern, there are growing calls for Canada to once again support a global initiative to temporarily waive intellectual property restrictions on COVID-19 vaccines.
Opposition politicians and medical groups are urging liberals to extend their support behind a 2020 joint resolution led by India and South Africa that seeks to bolster trade-related aspects of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) amid the pandemic. to be suspended during ,
The move would give low-income countries access to critical information such as trade secrets, designs and copyrights to more cheaply produce COVID-19 treatments domestically.
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In South Africa, where omicron is spreading rapidly, less than 25 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated against the virus, compared to about 76 percent in Canada.
Experts say this is due to a combination of vaccine inequity and hesitation.
The government continues to say that they are not against the TRIPS exemption, but are consulting countries and stakeholders on the right track.
Ottawa also often points to his contributions to COVAX, the global vaccine sharing network, of which he donated over 8.3 million 200 million surplus vaccines promised by the end of 2022.
NDP leader Jagmeet Singh told reporters on Tuesday that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau needs to “take a position” and either support the global fight to fight the virus or protect the profits of pharmaceutical companies.
“Supporting Canadians and doing our part here in Canada is not enough for us, we also have to help countries around the world and especially those who have less means to buy vaccines…. We need to make sure that That’s to put people first,” she said.
The Canadian Federation of Nurse Unions (CFNU) co-signed a letter to the United Nations with other international nursing unions to push for political action on vaccine inequality.
Pauline Worsfold, secretary treasurer of the CFNU and a nurse on the frontlines of the pandemic in Alberta, said Canada not agreeing to sign the TRIPS waiver proposal is a “sin”.
“It’s disproportionate to countries that can’t afford vaccination, their population is paying a high price for vaccination … no one is safe until everyone is safe and I think This new version is part and parcel of the evidence,” she told Granthshala.ca during an interview.
Asked whether he joins the argument that patent monopolies spur innovation and help firms recover their investments in research and development, Worsfold said, “Not for a second.”
A spokeswoman for International Trade Minister Mary Ng previously told Granthshala.ca that the TRIPS exemption would be a priority topic to be discussed at the WTO ministerial conference from November 30 to December 3.
The conference has since been postponed due to the threat of the Omicron version.
In a statement released Tuesday to Granthshala.ca, the spokesperson said, “Our government has always been, and always will be, a strong advocate for vaccine equity.”
“We are participating in discussions to waive intellectual property protections specifically for COVID-19 vaccines under the WTO Agreement on TRIPS. Canada will continue to work with international partners at the WTO to ensure a speedy and just recovery around the world,” said Alice Hansen.