Govt decision will help make vaccines more accessible to those who need it the most

Aotearoa New Zealand is the latest country to support the proposal for a TRIPS waiver to COVID-19 vaccines, following in the steps of the Biden administration in the United States.

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor made the announcement this morning via social media.

Amnesty International Campaigns Director Lisa Woods says many organisations will welcome the move today.

"This is a big move in safeguarding global public health so we welcome the announcement and are thankful for it. Crucial to this change were all the organisations who’ve been pushing for this. We, along with 42 other groups . So, thank you to these groups who stood up, this will save lives, and we will all be better off because of it."

Lisa Woods, Campaigns Director Amnesty International

A poll released from Oxfam New Zealand today showed. 74% of New Zealanders said they want the government to make pharmaceutical corporations share their coronavirus vaccine knowledge and technology.

Woods says global polling also shows an appetite for the move.

"Analysis by the People’s Vaccine Alliance, of which Amnesty International is signed to, shows a supermajority of people in G7 countries want their governments to ensure vaccine know-how is shared."

Lisa Woods, Campaigns Director Amnesty International

She says it’s also a reputational issue for Aotearoa New Zealand on the global stage.

"We would have preferred New Zealand was more ahead in the pack, but we’re stoked. We hope that the Government will encourage support for this proposal and bring other countries along with it, that’s the Kiwi way. I know it’s been overused but COVID-19 knows no borders and this recognises that, it recognises that we’re all connected."

The New Zealand move to support the TRIPS waiver comes as G7 foreign and development ministers meet in London, the group’s first in-person meeting in two years, and the general council of WTO meets today online, while death tolls in countries such as India continue to climb.