Sign the petition from nurses’ unions asking the UN to investigate WTO for blocking waiver on vaccine monopolies

December 1, 2021: The global federation of nurses and carers unions, Global Nurses United (GNU), has appealed to the United Nations to conduct a mission to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to investigate the role of member states in blocking access to COVID19 vaccines for low-income countries.

They have also called on the public to support their appeal by signing the petition “Carers of the world vs COVID-19 criminals”.

The nurses’ letter condemns global vaccine inequity, noting that 44.5 percent of the world population had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, but only 2.2 percent of those people were in low-income countries. Most people in the poorest countries will need to wait another two years before they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

“COVID-19 cases continue to soar in numerous parts of the world, while pharmaceutical companies and governments have failed to ensure that critical treatments and vaccines are distributed equitably in order to respond to the pandemic.”

“There is a solution: A proposal to temporarily waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments is currently being debated at the World Trade Organization. But instead of supporting this waiver, certain governments are protecting the profits of big pharmaceutical companies at the expense of public health.”

The appeal to Special Rapporteur on Physical and Mental Health, Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng, notes that the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has recently sent letters to members of the WTO, the G7 and G20 states, the European Union, and pharmaceutical companies, which concluded that: “States have a collective responsibility to use all available means to facilitate faster access to vaccines, including by introducing a temporary waiver of relevant intellectual property rights under the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement)”

The nurses’ letter states that “It is now clear: Continued opposition to the TRIPS waiver is resulting in the violation of human rights of peoples across the world.”

“We urge you to urgently undertake a mission to the World Trade Organization to examine the facts set out in this petition. These countries have violated our rights and the rights of our patients — and caused the loss of countless lives — of nurses and other caregivers and those we have cared for.”

  • To sign the petition in support of the nurses demands, click here.
  • To read the full letter to the UN, visit here.
  • To read the OHCHR letters to the WTO, the G7 and G20 states, the European Union, and pharmaceutical companies, click here.