Nursing unions blame EU, 4 countries for Covid deaths

More than 45 per cent of the world’s population still has not received even one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.

Published: 30th November 2021 08:54 AM  |   Last Updated: 30th November 2021 08:54 AM   |  A+A-

In this file photo taken on May 31, 2021 a nurse prepares a syringe of the Pfizer-BioNtech Covid-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, in Garlan, western France. (AFP)

By Express News Service

A coalition of unions representing more than 2.5 million nurses from 28 countries has accused the EU, UK, Norway, Switzerland, and Singapore of  human rights violations over their blocking of a temporary waiver of corporate pharmaceutical intellectual property rights that they say would have ensured more equitable distribution of vaccines.

In a complaint addressed to Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on Physical and Mental  Health, the nurses said “these countries have violated our rights and the rights of our patients — and  caused the loss of countless lives” through “continued opposition to the waiver of WTO agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights... resulting in the violation of human rights of  peoples across the world.”

More than 45 per cent of the world’s population still has not received even one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, the nurses’ unions wrote. “Pharmaceutical companies and governments have failed to ensure that critical treatments and vaccines are distributed equitably in order to respond to the pandemic,” the complaint said. Responding to the com-plaint, Mofokeng said, “The  nurses’ core demand is one I share: States have a collective responsibility to use all available means to facilitate faster access to vaccines, including by introducing a temporary waiver of  relevant intellectual property rights under the WTO  Agreement on Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS  Agreement),” she said.

The nurses unions were coordinated by Global Nurses United (GNU) and the Progressive International (PI), a global coalition of left-wing  organisations.

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