11 Mar 2021, 13.46

The Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence today, launched its Report on the Distribution of Covid-19 vaccines to developing countries.

The report makes a series of recommendations - including a call on government to formally endorse the World Health Organisation’s Covid-Technology Access Pool (C-Tap) initiative – to helpachieve equitable, global access to COVID-19 vaccines.

Chairman of the Committee Charlie Flanagan TD said: “Having regard to the issues experienced across Europe in accessing adequate supplies of vaccine for Member States, the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence set out to examine the international response and actions that Ireland can take in respect of the distribution and roll-out of Covid-19 vaccines to developing and low-and middle-income countries.

“While it is the human instinct to seek to prioritise the safety of those closest to us, we know, as has been said repeatedly over the past weeks and months, that nobody is safe until everybody is safe. Without concerted collaboration between the European Union, US, and the UN working together to ensure that everybody has access to vaccinations, then those closest to us will not be safe.”

Deputy Flanagan added: “With all signs indicating that herd immunity through vaccination, that was thought possible in the initial stages of the pandemic, now appearing increasingly unlikely due to the emergence of further and new variants, it is now incumbent upon us to act as global citizens.

“We must take steps to ensure that our actions are in line with our values and ensure that we do all that we can to reach the furthest behind first and ensure that no one is left behind.In light of the extent of the extraordinary health crisis we find ourselves within and the significant public investment that has supported the creation of many Covid-19 vaccines, support for initiatives to facilitate the equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines is not an unreasonable expectation.”

Dr. Kieran Harkin and Dr. Aisling McMahon of Access to Medicines Ireland, Ms Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS and Dr. David Nabarro, Special Envoy on Covid-19 for the World Health Organisation appeared before the Committee to discuss access to Covid-9 vaccine for low to middle-income families for the report.

C-Tap calls on the global community to voluntarily share knowledge, intellectual property and data to accelerate the development of products needed to fight COVID-19.

The WHO’s ACT Accelerator aims to facilitate the rapid development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics for Covid-19, and to distribute those vaccines equally.

The Committee Report recommends:

  • Formal endorsement of C-TAP by the Government
  • Government advocating for C-TAP and other mechanisms at international level, particularly at the EU and at the UN Security Council
  • Government assistance to encourage more pharmaceutical companies to join C-TAP
  • Increased financial support for the World Health Organisation’s Access to Covid-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT Accelerator

 

Read the full report.

 

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