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Omicron spurs urgency of TRIPS waiver and vaccine equity

Australian Greens International Development spokesperson Senator Mehreen Faruqi has said that the emergence of the Omicron variant has put further pressure on Australia to co-sponsor an intellectual property waiver on Covid-19 vaccines at the World Trade Organization (WTO).

At its upcoming ministerial meetings, the WTO will consider the intellectual property waiver first proposed by India and South Africa more than one year ago.

Senator Faruqi said:

“The global Covid crisis continues to evolve but Australia is missing in action. Omicron has put further pressure on wealthy countries like Australia to step up and support vaccination across the world.

“It’s absolutely critical that Australia comes out in strong support of the intellectual property waiver as proposed by India and South Africa.

“By refusing to co-sponsor the waiver, Australia has taken the side of big pharmaceutical companies over the health and wellbeing of millions of people.

“In addition, Australia should substantially boost funding to the COVAX vaccine facility to ramp up vaccination in low-income countries. Our per capita contributions, to this point, have been miserly.”

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