Australia seeks to ‘unlock’ talks on global COVID-19 vaccine exemption



Mr. Tehan recently embarked on an extensive international trip for a series of trade talks around the world, including Indonesia, India, the United Arab Emirates, France and Italy, with Brussels and London to come.

He told SBS News he spoke with counterparts from India, South Africa as well as the European Union to find a “way forward” on his whirlwind trip.

“We want this problem resolved,” he said.

“I am convinced that we can if everyone is willing to give a little because the importance of this is so great.”

Australia seeks to ‘unlock’ talks on COVID-19 vaccine dispensation

A large ministerial conference in November-December, which usually offers a rare opportunity to strike new trade deals, is now the next crucial meeting to decide the future of the waiver.

Mr Tehan said the COVID-19 waiver would be an “absolutely key issue” at the year-end meeting.

“We need to be able to unblock the discussions around the waiver of intellectual property, as it relates to vaccines, and we are fully committed to this and want to see it resolved,” he said.

He said that good vaccine production and distribution would be essential to successfully fight the pandemic.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio (L) meets with Minister of Commerce Dan Tehan (R).

Source: ANSA

“This is how we are going to beat this pandemic,” he said.

Proponents of dispensing the vaccines argue that it would be easier for low- and middle-income countries to manufacture generic versions of the vaccines.

It depends on concerns that rich countries continue to hoard vaccines, including for booster shots, while low-income countries are lagging behind in the global rollout.

Official data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows that less than 4% of people in low-income countries have received at least one vaccine against COVID-19, compared to nearly 61% in high-income countries .

There are also fears that a global vaccine-sharing initiative known as the COVAX Facility is on track to nearly a billion short of its updated vaccine target of 1.4 billion doses this year.

A health worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine in Nigeria.

Source: Universal Image Group

The United States supported the proposal in May, raising expectations for a breakthrough that has yet to materialize.

But some countries remain skeptical, including powerful EU member states like Germany.

Sources told Reuters that opponents of the measure feared it was not clear that a waiver would help remove barriers to vaccine fairness, such as raw material shortages and drug chain issues. ‘supply.

WHO wants to see up to 70% of the world’s population vaccinated by mid-2022.

The goals are seen as crucial steps in limiting the disease burden and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic which has continued to wreak havoc across the world.

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WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has identified solutions to vaccine inequality as a priority for the world trade body, which has recently been faced with questions about its relevance.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also called the disparity in vaccine supply “obscenity” and “a moral indictment”.


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