Thursday, 3 June 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
Ireland is playing its full part in the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for all.
Last year, Irish funding to the World Health Organisation (WHO) was quadrupled, given its role as lead UN agency for health and co-host of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator. Launched in April 2020, the ACT Accelerator, with COVAX as its core programme, is a ground-breaking global collaboration to accelerate development, production, and equitable access to COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines.
Through the Irish Aid programme, the Government has also allocated approximately €100 million in 2021 to global public health, to help ensure that health systems in developing countries can respond effectively to the pandemic. In some cases, this is with the complementary support of the HSE Global Health Programme.
Irish Embassies in partner countries are also working alongside WHO, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance ,and others to support the vaccine rollout effort, which is challenging for many countries. Irish Aid support so far this year includes a direct contribution to the COVAX facility of €4 million, as well as a contribution to Gavi of €3 million. Accompanying the COVAX payment was an additional €1 million to the WHO to oversee the process of vaccine procurement and distribution. Further contributions to COVAX are under active consideration.
Ireland’s support to COVAX sits within the broader EU response. So far, the EU and Member States have committed €2.5 billion to COVAX. COVAX is beginning to show some real results; shipping over 81 million vaccines to 127 participant countries as of May 30th. With this donor funding, COVAX has secured options on a total of 3.86 billion doses of vaccines.
The Department of Enterprise Trade and Employment leads on Intellectual Property Rights and World Trade Organisation (WTO) matters, including on the current discussion on the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) Agreement. They are working with the European Commission and other EU Member States on the EU response to the calls for a TRIPS waiver. They are also giving consideration to Ireland’s potential participation in technology-pooling mechanisms such as the Covid Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) initiative. My Department continues to liaise with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment on this and a number of related matters, on an ongoing basis.