The essential right to a safe workplace must include the right to vaccination, regardless of where one lives.
That is why UNI Global Union is joining the call for the temporary suspension of certain treatment-related intellectual property obligations under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement). A “TRIPS waiver” would allow low-and-medium income countries to expand production and to access therapeutics, vaccines, and other medical products needed during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“Workers—especially essential workers—have been under immense pressure during the pandemic, and whether they are in Ireland or India, they should have the same access to life-saving protections—including vaccines. Unfortunately, access has not been equal, leaving millions unprotected and all of us exposed,” says Christy Hoffman, UNI General Secretary.
She continued, “Shamefully, some producers are seeking to profit from these inequalities. UNI Global Union is calling on leaders of high-income countries to value lives over intellectual property agree to a temporary TRIPS waiver.”
UNI Global Union demands that:
- All countries have equal access to the COVID-19 vaccine;
- The WTO wave the TRIPS Agreement on vaccines and other COVID therapeutics, so that vaccination and treatment are affordable and free from patent costs which can block production in the Global South;
- No person, company, or government should profit from the procurement and distribution of the vaccine;
- Health and social care workers, along with other essential workers, should have priority access to the vaccine worldwide.
Education and access to scientific information are key elements to a successful global vaccination program. UNI supports all ethical means to achieve high vaccination rates through the dissemination of accurate, scientifically based information.