Access to Medicines Ireland Calls on Government to Halt 'Vaccine Nationalism’

Access to Medicines Ireland Calls on Government to Halt ‘Vaccine Nationalism’

C-TAP Initiative for Global Equitable Access to Covid-19 Healthcare supported by President Higgins and Leading Irish Health Experts

The Access to Medicines Ireland (AMI) campaign group calls for the Irish government to take immediate action to support the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) ‘Solidarity Call to Action’ and endorse the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool(C-TAP). 

Dr Aisling McMahon stated: “‘People living in Ireland and indeed, across the globe need to have equitable access to effective and safe Covid-19 healthcare as soon as possible. The Irish Government can strengthen its commitment to developing effective Covid-19 healthcare and to ensuring equitable global access to such Covid-19 health-technologies by supporting the WHO Solidarity Call to Action and C-TAP initiative. The WHO Call to Action and C-TAP initiative promotes the sharing of knowledge, data and intellectual property rights which is vital to developing effective vaccines, diagnostics, and medicines for COVID-19, and for ensuring equitable global access to these.” 

C-TAP is also a key step to ensure that future diagnostics, treatments and vaccines for COVID-19 are affordable and accessible to patients in Ireland and to Irish taxpayers.  

On 25th September 2020, President Michael D Higgins indicated his support for the WHO’s “global solidarity call to action” in tackling Covid-19 in his speech at the 75th Session of the UN General Assembly. He stated: 

“As traditional markets have acknowledged that they cannot deliver at the scale needed to cover the entire globe, solidarity within and between countries and the private sector is essential if we are to overcome challenges presented to us by COVID with regard to accessing appropriate medical treatments.” 

Access to Medicines Ireland, leading Irish health experts Professor Luke O’Neill and Professor Sam McConkey, and organisations such asMedécins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) Ireland,the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation and the Irish Network for Global Health, are all calling on the Irish government to support the C-TAP initiative. 

Dr Kieran Harkin stated: 

“C-TAP is a promising and wide-ranging initiative to ensure that COVID-19 treatments will be available to all who need them, regardless of their ability to pay, or how wealthy the country they live in is. It is a vital antidote to the growth of “vaccine nationalism” in some countries, and EU countries including Belgium, Luxembourg, Norway, Portugal and the Netherlands have already pledged their support under the WHO’s Solidarity Call to Action.” 

COVID-19 has fundamentally changed how we live our lives. It is in all our interests that it is eradicated as soon as possible, and this can only be achieved by promoting the development of effective vaccines, therapies and diagnostics for Covid-19 that are available across the world. Global solutions are urgently needed. 

To quote President Michael D. Higgins’ concluding remarks in his UN address: “Ní neart go cur le chéile’ (there is strength in unity) – and work together we must.”