17 March, 2022: After 18 months of talks, a leaked document proposing a deal between the United States, the European Union, South Africa and India that claims to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines for developing countries reveals some positive steps. But advocates say more is needed to address the inequity resulting in only 4% of people in low -income countries having had two vaccine doses, and even less access to new treatments. Under the leaked proposal, access to treatments and tests would not be included, but would be considered only after another six months’ delay.
February 22, 2022 Media Release: The World Trade Organisations (WTO) this week must seize the opportunity to address the global inequity in COVID19 vaccines, tests and treatments, say vaccine equity advocates. While in Australia debate has focused on the availability of free rapid antigen tests (RATs), globally there is inequitable global access to tests, vaccines and treatments that are critical to protecting people from COVID-19.
December 17, 2021: After 18 months of secretive negotiations, Trade Ministers from Australia and the UK today signed the Australia-UK FTA and released the text of the agreement. Fair trade advocates are demanding an independent assessment o f costs and benefits before it is ratified, as recommended by the parliamentary committee that reviews trade agreements.
December 16, 2021: As World Trade Organisation (WTO) delegates meet today to discuss a proposal to temporarily lift vaccine intellectual property patents, vaccine equity advocates are calling for immediate action amid a ‘tsunami’ of Omicron cases.
November 30, 2021: Health, civil society organisations and unions are holding a vigil today at 12 pm outside the German Consulate to demand WTO rule changes to share vaccine knowledge and protect the world against new COVID threats.
November 29: An alliance of health, human rights, fair-trade and labour rights advocates have warned Trade Minister Dan Tehan that global efforts to lift COVID-19 vaccine patent monopolies would be undermined by a draft statement that Australia sponsored before the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting which was due to meet this week.
Media Release November 27, 2021: The World Trade Organisation (WTO) Ministerial Meeting scheduled for November 30-December 3 has been postponed indefinitely because the new Omicron strain of the COVID-19 virus in African countries with low vaccination rates prevents many African and other delegations from attending the meeting.
Dr Patricia Ranald, Convener of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, said today:
“The postponement of the WTO Ministerial Meeting exposes the shocking failure of the WTO for over a year to agree to share vaccine knowledge and increase global vaccine production to ensure access in low-income countries. This new strain of the virus is a direct result of vaccination rates below 5% in African low-income countries, where millions are dying and new strains are developing.”
November 22, 2021:An alliance of health, human rights and fair-trade organisations have today joined forces to rally today at 12 pm outside Pfizer Australia’s office at 151 Clarence St, Sydney. They are calling for the pharmaceuticals giant to put the Covid-19 vaccination needs of millions of people in low and lower-middle income countries ahead of its own revenue targets
November 4: On the eve of an important World Trade Organisation (WTO) meeting on intellectual property this week, the Government has revealed that Australia will not co-sponsor a proposal to waive commercial monopolies on COVID19 vaccines, as Shadow Trade Minister Madeleine King MP and campaigners have urged.
October 19, 2021: Following today’s announcement from Madeleine King MP that Labor will support enabling legislation of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), advocates have called on the Government and Opposition to publicly commit to re-examine the RCEP in the next term of Parliament amid fears that the trade deal may impede regulation for quality aged care and reduction of carbon emissions.