Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, today welcomed the appearance of Commissioner for Internal Markets, Thierry Breton, before the Oireachtas Joint Committee on European Affairs on vaccine production, industrial policy priorities and digital transformation.
Teachta Brady said:
“The success we have witnessed in lowering the number of infections due to the roll out of the vaccination programme, clearly shows that vaccination is the way that we will defeat this pandemic.
“It is no surprise that Thierry Breton has earned the moniker of the ‘Vaccine Hunter’, due his diligence in tracking down supplies across the continent and beyond. I welcome the comments of Commissioner Breton that by Mid-July of this year we will have enough supplies to vaccinate 70% of our populations.
“However, the identification here in Ireland yesterday of three new variants from India is a very worrying development.
“The stark reality is that no-one is safe until everyone is safe. We need to ensure that there is a global roll out of the vaccination programme.
“I share the sentiments of Commissioner Burrell, when he says that we will have to consider the waiving of intellectual property rights in order to ensure that there is a timely global roll out of the vaccination programme.
“Commissioner Breton spoke of the need to avoid vaccine nationalism. The only way we can achieve this is to produce enough to allay current levels of fear and demand.
“We face an enormous industrial challenge and responsibility to secure enough vaccines to provide for the whole of Europe and the world. If we do not employ a global strategy, we run the very real and serious risk of the emergence of a new variant of Covid that may well prove immune to vaccinations.
“I very much welcome the news that since January vaccine deliveries have doubled every month, and that by the end of the year, Europe will be in a position to produce 3 billion doses annually.
“However, I believe that the quickest and most effective way to meet the challenge that confronts us all, will be by waiving intellectual property rights, therefore giving many of the poorer nations of the world the means to produce their own supplies at an affordable rate.
“If we fail in this, we run the very real and potent risk of the development of new variants resistant to current vaccines.”