MEDIA RELEASE: EU Leaders urged to immediately support the WTO TRIPS Waiver for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments

Coinciding with the arrival of President Macron, Access to Medicines Ireland (AMI) and its supporters are demonstrating outside Government Buildings at Merrion Street today. AMI calls on the EU leaders like Emmanuel Macron and Micheál Martin to immediately support the WTO TRIPS Waiver for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments and save lives.  

Founding member of Access to Medicines Ireland, Dr Kieran Harkin, said: 

“The global death toll for COVID-19 is now 4.5 million and rising. COVID-19 vaccine production has been intentionally limited to a handful of companies with a consequent artificial scarcity of vaccines and billions of Euro profit for the pharmaceutical industry. But we have the power to change this – by forcing companies to share the vaccine recipe and thereby upscale vaccine production. If the EU supports the TRIPS Waiver at the WTO this will enable many other pharmaceutical companies to manufacture vaccines. This is the most effective way to ensure universal access to Covid 19 vaccines and to end what the head of the WHO has called ‘this catastrophic moral failure’ of vaccine inequality.” 

He continues: “It will soon be a year since India and South Africa proposed a waiver on Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) at the WTO for COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. Yet, incredibly, it is mostly European member states, including Ireland, who are blocking this, which will be to our eternal shame unless leaders like Emmanuel Macron and Micheál Martin take action immediately.” 

While James Larkin, also a member of Access to Medicines Ireland, said: 

“Are we to repeat the crimes of the past when millions died of HIV-AIDS because governments did not act quickly enough to suspend Intellectual Property rights? There cannot be business as usual, and profits as usual, during a global emergency. Other piecemeal efforts, such as donating excess vaccines, or the COVAX initiative, are insufficient to fill the glaring manufacturing gap. Only the TRIPS Waiver can do this, and European leaders like Macron and Martin must deliver it, or millions more lives may be lost.” 

Access to Medicines Ireland is a member of The People’s Vaccine Alliance Ireland, a national and international civil society coalition calling for the WTO TRIPS Waiver, and is a membership group of Comhlámh, the association of development workers and volunteers. 

ENDS 

About Access to Medicines Group: www.accesstomedicines.ieMember Groups – Comhlamh  

Peoples Vaccine: www.peoplesvaccine.ie

About Comhlamh: www.comhlamh.org  

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