Today, I had a constructive meeting with my Inter-Parliamentary Union colleagues on the Working Group on Science & Technology in Madrid.
Among the issues we discussed was the need for equitable access to Covid vaccines on a global scale, which is in all our interest.
We will only stop the threat of new variants when everyone is vaccinated, globally!
To improve access to vaccines for the furthest behind in the vaccination programme, Ireland has donated over 330,000 doses directly to Uganda and we are in the process of donating 1.3 million doses via the COVAX Facility.
I had the opportunity to discuss the Covid challenges in several countries right across the globe, including with my Kenyan colleague, a country which will benefit directly from our vaccine allocation to COVAX.
This is a significant amount given our small population and demonstrates Ireland’s commitment to ensuring equity of access.
But our response to the pandemic must, and does, go beyond vaccine sharing. Continued engagement is needed in prevention, testing, and treatment. Equally, support for health system strengthening is needed to ensure everyone is better prepared for future health threats.