TRIPS waiver: EU Council and European Commission must support equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all

published 7 May 2021 updated 9 June 2021

Education International welcomes the resolution adopted by the European Parliament calling the EU to support the “TRIPS waiver” proposal initiated by South Africa and India to lift intellectual property rights on COVID-19 vaccines and medical products.

Following the US Trade Representative's announcement that the US will support the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver, currently supported by over 100 countries, the EU represents to date the main opponent at the WTO.

While the European Union initially expressed its willingness to discuss the proposal backed by the US, Germany quickly came out against it.

Following discussions at the EU Summit in Porto on 7-8 May, EU leaders backed off and now criticise the US for not exporting doses and vaccine ingredients, claiming that it would be the most effective solution in the short term.

Education International invites all member organisations and concerned citizens to exert pressure on governments who are obstructing a wider production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines and medical products.

Education union mobilise for vaccine equity

Education International has been a leading voice in opposition to vaccine nationalism and big pharmaceutical companies profiteering off a world pandemic.

EI and its affiliates continue to urge governments blocking the waiver to change their position.

The support of the United States for equitable access to vaccines shows that international solidarity matters and that our collective campaigning creates change We will continue to organise and mobilise because ramping up production and equitable distribution of vaccines is a critical step to ending Covid, underlined Education International’s General Secretary David Edwards.

“Inequitable access to COVID-19 vaccines risks prolonging the pandemic, the ensuing school closures, and the educational disruption for months and even years to come,” he said. “We are only beginning to grasp the longer-term negative impact of school closures on children and youth, and the disproportionate effects on already disadvantaged groups of students. A safe and permanent return to onsite education around the world requires equitable access to vaccines everywhere.”

In collaboration with its affiliates and allies, Education international will continue to advocate for equity in vaccinations across all countries.


It invites its members and citizens around the world to keep urging their governments to stop blocking wider production of vaccines for all, choosing people’s health over pharma profits. You can use #PeoplesVaccine and show support for #TRIPSWaiver.

Education International’s statement calling on governments to ensure equal access to COVID-19 vaccines and other medical products by waiving intellectual property rights is available here.

“Covid Story Will End with Equity and Leadership”, the blog article by Education International’s General Secretary, David Edwards, is available here.