US BACKS COVID VACCINES PATENT WAIVER – AND AUSTRALIA SHOULD FOLLOW SUIT

Labor welcomes the Biden Administration’s support for the waiver of intellectual property protections on COVID-19 vaccines and calls on the Morrison Government to follow suit.

The US is showing the kind of global leadership that is needed to boost the world’s vaccine rollout, particularly in developing countries.

We urge the Morrison Government to stop its obstruction of intellectual property waivers. Instead, it should engage constructively in the World Trade Organization and with international partners, including industry, to ensure developing nations can access effective and affordable COVID-19 vaccines in a timely way and with the highest safety standards.

The world is facing extraordinary circumstances that call for this extraordinary step.

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Even with this measure, more urgent work is still needed outside the WTO to seek solutions to ensure vaccines are available to all.

COVID-19 will not be defeated at home until it is defeated everywhere.

The devastating situation in India right now demonstrates not only why this is the right thing to do, but also why it is in Australia’s interests.

There are more than 9,000 Australians stranded in India. Immigration Minister Alex Hawke confirmed this morning that this list will likely grow given the escalating crisis and that it will take many months to repatriate those stranded.

Australia should be doing all we can to support the global vaccine rollout, and in doing so help the people of India and the many Australians left behind by the Morrison Government’s failure to deliver on safe, national quarantine over the past 12 months.