Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash
Photo by Daniel Schludi on Unsplash

No one is safe until everyone is safe

Take action for universal access to COVID-19 vaccines, medical products and technologies!

published 14 June 2021 updated 22 June 2021

With a few high-income countries taking over most of the global vaccine supply, the rest of the world is left fighting new waves of the COVID-19 pandemic without essential tools. In the meantime, new variants of the virus are threatening to send us all back to square one.

Access to COVID-19 vaccines for teachers and education support personnel everywhere is essential for a safe and permanent return to onsite education. The first condition for educators everywhere to be vaccinated is ensuring sufficient supplies of the vaccines in all countries.

The only solution to a global pandemic is global solidarity

Increasing the production of vaccines around the world is critical to ensuring equitable access and putting an end to the pandemic. To make this happen, we must put people over profit and temporarily lift intellectual property barriers on COVID-19 vaccines and medical products. To this end, India and South Africa put forward a proposal at the World Trade Organization – the TRIPS Waiver proposal – which is now supported by over 100 countries around the world.

However, a few countries including the European Union, the UK, Switzerland and South Korea are opposing the TRIPS Waiver and holding the whole world back in order to protect the profits of pharma companies. We need to change their minds before it’s too late.

Vaccine nationalism and crisis profiteering are self-defeating strategies amid a global health crisis.

Education unions mobilise for vaccine equity

Education International has been a leading voice against vaccine nationalism and big pharma profiteering from a global pandemic. Together with our member organisations, we will continue to urge governments blocking the waiver to change their position.

“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. We are only beginning to grasp the longer-term negative impact of school closures on children and youth. A safe and permanent return to onsite education around the world requires equitable access to vaccines everywhere.”

David Edwards | Education International General Secretary

Here’s how you can help!

Spread the word

Not everyone knows about the TRIPS Waiver and how important it is in the fight against COVID-19. Help raise awareness by retweeting and sharing our statement below. You can also post on your social media using #TRIPSwaiver and #PeoplesVaccine.

Rally support online

Many civil society organisations have come out in support of the TRIPS waiver proposal. Use the communication toolkits to ask governments to do the right thing.

Target the European Union

The European Union is one of the major and most influential opponents of the TRIPS Waiver. We need to make it clear to them how citizens feel. Sign the European Citizens’ Initiative noprofitonpandemic.eu.

Join the global union mobilisation

If you represent or work for an Education International member organisation and you would like your union to take action on vaccine equity, please contact us at [email protected].