Misean Cara has joined with a group of Irish FBOs and NGOs in actively promoting the People’s Vaccine Campaign for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments and related technology. Along with several other organisations including Oxfam, AMRI, Christian Aid and ActionAid, we are lending our voice to the call for vaccine equity and have added our logo to a video promoting equal vaccine access for the Global South.
Misean Cara is also urging, on justice grounds and because no one is safe from COVID-19 until we are all safe, that any interested party sign this petition and call on their EU-based supporters and partners to do likewise.
The petition asks the European Union to urgently ensure access to COVID-19 vaccines, treatments, and equipment for all people – and for Ireland to support such efforts. It argues that there should be a temporary waiver on Intellectual Property Rights (patents and licences governed by WTO rules) over COVID-19 vaccines; that technological knowledge should be shared freely and openly to allow a huge scale-up in vaccine production and availability; and that vaccines and treatments should be affordable and accessible for all.
EU-wide, the petition has over 100,00 of the 125,000 signatures it needs by early May but could still do with more. Ireland’s signatures are lagging on the state-by-state share of signatures required, and need more support if the petition is to succeed in convincing the European Commission on this issue.
The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence also issued a report in March, which called on the Government to endorse and fund the C-TAP* initiative, and to increase financial support to the WHO’s ACT-Accelerator for Access to COVID-19 vaccine diagnostics and tools, to drive rapid and equitable tackling of the COVID-19 pandemic globally.
The Oireachtas Committee report notes that “If voluntary mechanisms do not achieve sufficient support, then mandatory measures such as suspending intellectual property rights under the WTO Council for Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights – TRIPS – waiver proposal will be needed and should be supported to encourage and achieve change.”
For more information on vaccine equity and the European Citizens’ Initiative to support this, please go to www.noprofitonpandemic.eu
*Through C-TAP (the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool), the WHO consolidates voluntary pledges of commitment to share knowledge and data, health technologies and intellectual property, to advance timely, equitable and affordable global pandemic responses, based on the right to health. The WHO is inviting holders of COVID-19 health technology, knowledge, intellectual property and/or data to endorse and join its Solidarity Call to Action now. (Among EU countries, only Belgium, Luxembourg, Portugal and The Netherlands have endorsed C-TAP so far.)
 Joint Committee on Foreign Affairs and Defence Report on the Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines to Developing Countries March 2021, page 4.