Joint letter to PM about Canada’s role in global vaccine equity
KAIROS has joined 25 churches, faith, interfaith, ecumenical organizations and others, all participants in the Love My Neighbour project, in sending a letter to the Prime Minister regarding Canada’s important role in increasing the number of COVID-19 vaccines distributed quickly and equitably in lower income countries.
Love My Neighbour is a project that brings together Canadians of diverse faiths from across the country for vaccine equity.
Among other measures the letter calls on Canada to support a temporary waiver on COVID vaccine intellectual property rights at the World Trade Organization. This comes at a time when US President Joe Biden and the Pope Francis have announced their support for such a waiver, along with about 100 other countries. The letter also requests a meeting with the Prime Minister to discuss how we can work together to achieve the goals outlined in this letter.
Excerpt from the letter:
Canada has currently purchased enough vaccines to vaccinate Canada’s population many times over. Vaccine inequality will only prolong the global pandemic.
- We urge the creation and rapid implementation of a re-distribution and donation plan of Canada’s purchased and committed vaccine doses, including doses purchased from COVAX, to COVAX.
- Following the example of countries like Norway, we urge an immediate minimum 5% donation of Canada’s vaccines to COVAX. The global response to the COVID-19 pandemic must be timely and equitable if it is to be successful.
- We also encourage Canadian support for the temporary Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver, presented to the World Trade Organization.
- This waiver will ensure that trade regulations and licensing do not impede the timely manufacture, distribution, and affordability of vaccines.
- Canada has maintained that it has not rejected this proposal, and it is studying the impacts of intellectual property regulations on vaccine manufacturing.
- While we affirm the importance of careful deliberation, we also urge a rapid response.
- Without the TRIPS waiver, many low- and middle-income countries may not have access to anywhere near sufficient vaccines before 2023, to say nothing of testing or medications for supportive care.
- We also encourage Canada to continue to support global health systems strengthening through an increased Official Development Assistance budget.
- With funding specially designated for community-based health organizations, including those run by women.
Canada can lead the way in ensuring fair access, distribution and administration of the vaccine around the world.
Twitter: @MKs4SDGs, #LoveMyNeighbourProject #GiftaVax