Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has said that the Irish government should give their support to the World Health Organisations’ Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP).
Teachta Brady was commenting today after a meeting of the Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence was addressed by Dr. David Nabarro, special envoy on Covid-19 from the World Health Organisation, Dr. Aisling McMahon and Dr. Kieran Harkin Access to Medicines Ireland, and Ms Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS.
The Wicklow TDsaid:
“What is clear coming out of our committee meeting today, is that the threat from Covid-19 is far from over.
“The strategy to defeat the virus is through the universal roll out of the vaccine. But, under the currently available manufacturing models, pharmaceutical companies will only be able produce enough vaccines to protect 2.6 to 3.1 billion people in 2021 – approximately one third of the world’s population.
“The speed and scale of production simply cannot keep up with demand.
“Wealthy countries will have enough vaccines to protect all their citizens 3 times over in 2021.
“While some 70 countries will only be able to vaccinate approximately 10% of their populations next year.
Only one of the 29 poorest countries in the world has begun vaccinating, Guinea in West Africa, and according to the latest figures it has only managed to vaccinate 55 people.
“One fifth of the world’s population will not get the vaccine until 2022. And many of the poorest countries will have to wait until 2023 or 2024.
“Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Direct General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), warned on January 25th that vaccine inequity could cost the global economy $9.2 trillion.
Teachta Brady continued:
“I am calling upon the Irish government to follow the lead of other EU countries such as Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal and The Netherlands, and to give their support to the World Health Organisations’ Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP).
“Patents and intellectual property rights led to millions of deaths in sub-Saharan Africa from HIV due to the prohibitive cost of the treatment.
“Patents have also played a recent role in driving up costs of Cystic Fibrosis and certain Cancer drugs, and they will lead to countless death, and the prolonging of the Covid-19 pandemic, unless we secure an agreement to share knowledge and give poorer countries the means to develop the vaccine.
“Winnie Byanyima was able to tell us today that the cost of a single vaccine in Uganda is $7, while in developed countries it is available for $2. This is an astonishing anomaly.
“This pandemic can only be defeated by protecting all of the world’s nations.
“As a member of the United Nation Security Council Ireland needs to show leadership. Our government must lend its support to the C-TAP initiative.”