Many systems have failed in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, putting people’s health at serious risk. The increased demand from PPE from workers and the public made clear the inadequacy of the global distribution system of PPE. The fallout has lead to shortages of PPE that heighten health risks and has cost lives.

The global distribution of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Covid-19 pandemic has been fraught with conflict, with only tenuous application of the principles of solidarity and justice. As members of People’s Health Movement (PHM) in North America, we are appalled at the weaponization of PPE as ideological warfare not only between Canada and the United States, but also worldwide, and we deplore the inequities that have highlighted its distribution in its scarcity, real or perceived. We believe that there are ways forward that are more effective, safe, and fair in protecting ourselves in proportion to the risks confronting our communities. We believe the mindset of scarcity and nationalist posturing must be replaced by principles of equity and solidarity with those most at risk.

PHM-NA stands in solidarity with workers and communities who face heightened health risks due to shortages of PPE. Read our critique and call to action.