TAKE ACTION! For a #PeoplesVaccine

TAKE ACTION! For a #PeoplesVaccine

29 June 2021

By Joanne O'Connor, Oxfam Ireland's Content Executive

Later this afternoon I have an appointment at the Aviva Stadium, where a mixture of mRNA, lipids and various multisyllabic compounds will be injected into my arm. The mRNA, which will then be ferried to my cells by teeny tiny lipid particles, will instruct the cells to generate the coronavirus’s spike protein – also known as the bit that kicks off Covid infections. Finally, the generation of this spike protein will spur an immune response that will include the production of antibodies to fight the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

It’s genius.

As the queue meanders slowly through the Aviva, I know I’ll be thinking about the innovation and hard work that led to the development of the Covid-19 vaccine. The hours spent in laboratories and on conference calls, the failed attempts and successes. All to create a jab that has already saved countless lives.

"Half the world thinks this pandemic is over...." - Dr. Mike Ryan

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The other thing I’ll be thinking about is luck – and geography. How lucky I am to be living in Ireland, a country where the vaccine roll-out has been gathering speed. Almost four million people have already received their Covid-19 vaccine, with more than 50,000 daily vaccinations being administered in recent days.

Despite Ireland’s impressive vaccine roll-out, the global pandemic is far from over. In lower-income countries, for instance, just three percent of people have access to a vaccine. The fairest and most effective way to end this pandemic is to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to a Covid-19 vaccine.

Not only is this the right thing to do, it’s in our self-interest. Ongoing outbreaks mean a greater risk of new vaccine-resistant variants developing. Without global united action, there is no way to defeat Covid-19 in Ireland.

The inequity around vaccine access is a result of decisions taken by governments and must be challenged. Oxfam Ireland is a member of the People's Vaccine Alliance Ireland, which is campaigning to upscale production of Covid-19 vaccines so they are available to everyone, everywhere.

Global access to vaccines will only be possible if many more vaccine manufacturers are permitted to produce vaccines and if pharmaceutical companies agree to share their recipes and know-how.

We're asking the Irish government to take a stand for fairness, equality and global health by calling for a #PeoplesVaccine. Will you join us?

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