Ireland delivers just a quarter of promised Covid vaccines to poorer nations

Ireland delivers just a quarter of promised Covid vaccines to poorer nations

Robbie Silverman of Oxfam said: “We have given over control of vaccine supply to a small number of pharmaceutical companies, who are prioritising their own profits."

Ireland has delivered just over a quarter of the 1.3 million vaccines it promised to low-income countries, according to a new report published by the People’s Vaccine Alliance.

The report found that out of 1.8 billion Covid vaccines promised by rich nations, just 14% have been delivered to date.

At the same time, just 12% of doses allocated to Covax, the initiative designed to help low and middle-income countries get fair access to Covid-19 vaccines, have been delivered by western pharmaceutical companies.

According to the international report, Ireland has delivered just 335,000 vaccines of the 1.3 million it pledged. Last month the Department of Health indicated that 335,000 was how many it was sending to Uganda. Austria, by comparison promised a million vaccines but has actually delivered 2.16 million.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Health said Ireland has recently signed the legal documentation necessary to facilitate a further donation of over one million Covid-19 vaccines via the Covax facility.

“We hope that doses will start being delivered to recipient countries in the near future.” 

Ireland has also allocated €7m to the Covax AMC facility to support the procurement of doses by low and middle income countries.

The failure of rich country donations, and the failure of Covax, have the same “root cause”, according to Robbie Silverman of Oxfam. “We have given over control of vaccine supply to a small number of pharmaceutical companies, who are prioritising their own profits. 

These companies can’t produce enough to vaccinate the world, they are artificially constraining the supply, and they will always put their rich customers at the front of the line. 

"The only way to end the pandemic is to share the technology, and know-how with other qualified manufacturers so that everyone, everywhere can have access to these life-saving vaccines.”

The report shows that the UK has only delivered less than 10% of the 100 million doses it promised to poorer nations. Meanwhile, it has itself taken half a million doses from Covax. 

Winnie Byanyima, executive director of UNAIDS, the joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, said: “Rich nations and corporations are shamefully failing to deliver on their promises whilst blocking the actual solution; ensuring developing nations have the ability to make their own vaccines."

Ahead of the G20 summit, the People’s Vaccine Alliance, which has 77 members including ActionAid and Oxfam, is calling for the suspension of intellectual property rights for Covid vaccines, tests, treatments, and other tools.

The group is also calling for a requirement for pharmaceutical companies to share Covid-19 data, and technology with the WHO’s Covid-19 Technology Access Pool and South Africa mRNA Technology Transfer Hub. It has also called for investment in manufacturing hubs in developing countries, so they have direct control over production capacity to meet their needs.

The group also wants the immediate redistribution of existing vaccines equitably across all nations to achieve the WHO target of vaccinating 40% of people in all countries by the end of 2021, and 70% of people in all countries by mid-2022.

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