Ireland must back calls for TRIPS waiver and step up on global vaccination

29 November 2021

Labour Foreign Affairs spokesperson Brendan Howlin TD has called again for the Irish government and the EU to take immediate action to ensure vaccines are made more widely available in the rest of the world, and for Ireland to support the TRIPS waiver.

Deputy Howlin said:

“Now is the time for the world to act with urgency on access to vaccines. Until all are vaccinated, preventable deaths will continue and new variants of the Covid-19 virus will emerge. Ireland as a wealthy and developed country should be playing a leadership role on patent rights and global distribution of vaccines.

“With the G7 meeting today after the emergence of the Omicron strain, they must show global leadership on vaccination and back the calls for a TRIPs waiver. As we’ve learned, travel bans alone won’t stop this pandemic. It’s over a year since India and South Africa first called for a TRIPS waiver, but it is European countries that have most opposed it.

“The new omicron variant of the SARS-COV-2 virus is clear evidence of the need for more co-ordinated action. Vaccination rates are far too low in too many countries. Fears about the impact of this latest variant echo the same concerns we had earlier this year when Delta emerged.

“Wealthy countries including the EU have failed to back the TRIPS waiver proposal at the WTO despite the leadership shown by the Biden administration. Ireland must show international solidarity.

“As long as the global divide on access to vaccines and healthcare equipment continues we will not get on top of this pandemic.

“As a member of the UN Security Council, we must use our voice and influence to support people across the globe.

“During the HIV pandemic a waiver on trade and intellectual property rights was used to boost drug supply, and should be implemented again now.

“It’s not just the west that has to live with Covid-19, so we must rapidly increase the rate of vaccinations across the world.”

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