Wednesday, 26 January 2022
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
93. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the amount donated to date by Irish Aid to the COVAX facility to enable the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines for distribution to low-and middle-income countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3814/22]
Ireland remains committed to an effective global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two years, my Department, through the Irish Aid programme, has invested €200 million in global public health with further investment to come in 2022 of at least another €100 million. This includes COVID-19 specific response measures, and ongoing work to strengthen health systems for the prevention and treatment of pre-existing conditions. A strong response is essential for our health at home, as well in low income countries where the impact of the pandemic is reversing hard won gains and deepening social and economic inequalities.
The WHO has set a global vaccination target of 70% by the middle of 2022. COVAX, as the main global facility for procurement and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, is performing well. As of Jan 16, COVAX has shipped 1 billion doses to 144 countries. Unfortunately, as long as a significant proportion of the world’s population remains unvaccinated and without full access to testing, tracking and treatment, COVID-19 will remain a threat to lives and livelihoods.
In 2021, Irish Aid gave €8.5 million in to the COVAX facility to enable the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for distribution to low- and middle-income countries. Last week, I announced an additional Irish contribution of €5 million to COVAX. This brings Ireland’s overall contribution to COVAX to date to €13.5 million.
This latest award to COVAX will facilitate the advance procurement of further doses for low income countries. Critically, it will also be used to provide equipment and technical support to low income countries to boost their ability to roll out large, safe, and rapid vaccination campaigns, including of the 5 million vaccines from Ireland's supply which the Government has pledged to COVAX.