I propose to take Questions Nos. 774 and 776 together.
I would like to thank the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence for their recent Report on the Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines to Developing Countries, whose recommendations are being considered by the relevant Government Departments.
Ireland is fully supporting efforts by the international community to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for all. The Government quadrupled funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2020, given its role as lead UN agency for health and co-host of the Access to Covid-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, which has the COVAX facility as a centrepiece. The Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment leads on Intellectual Property Rights, and is giving consideration to Ireland’s potential participation in technology-pooling mechanisms such as the C-TAP initiative.
My Department continues to liaise with the Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment on this on an ongoing basis. In the meantime, my Department has announced €5 million in Irish Aid funding to support developing countries to access COVID-19 vaccines. Most of this funding is going through the COVAX facility, a global UN-led mechanism for pooling procurement and fair distribution of the vaccines. This is part of at least €50 million allocated by my Department to Global Health in 2021.