Press Releases

Vaccine monopolies increasing cost of vaccinating the world against Covid

In a briefing note published today, the Global People’s Vaccine Alliance highlighted examples of how much both developing and wealthier nations have been potentially overpaying for Covid-19 vaccines. The analysis found that: 

  • The EU may have overpaid for their 1.96 billion Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines by as much as €31 billion  
  • Pfizer/ BioNTech are charging their lowest reported price of $6.75 to the African Union - nearly six times more than the estimated potential production cost of this vaccine  
  • Colombia, which has been badly affected by Covid, has been paying double the price paid by the US for Moderna vaccines 

The cost of vaccinating the world against Covid-19 could be at least five times cheaper if pharmaceutical companies weren’t profiteering from their monopolies on vaccines, campaigners from the Global People’s Vaccine Alliance campaign said today. 

New analysis by the Alliance shows that the firms Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna are charging governments as much as $41 billion above the estimated cost of production. The EU, for example, has potentially overpaid by as much as €31 billion for its 1.96 billion doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, in comparison to the estimated cost price. 

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said: “Despite a rapid rise in Covid cases and deaths across the developing world, Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna have sold over 90 percent of their vaccines so far to rich countries, charging up to 24 times the potential cost of production. 

“Last week Pfizer/BioNTech did announce that it would licence a South African company to fill and package 100 million doses for use in Africa, but this is a drop in the ocean of need. Neither company has agreed to fully transfer vaccine technology and know-how with any capable producers in developing countries, a move that could increase global supply, drive down prices and save millions of lives.”

Analysis of production techniques for the leading mRNA type vaccines produced by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna – which had an injection of public funding to the tune of $8.3 billion - suggest these vaccines could be made for as little as $1.20 a dose. Yet COVAX, the scheme set up to help countries get access to Covid vaccines, has been paying, on average, nearly five times more. COVAX has also struggled to get enough doses and at the speed required, because of the inadequate supply and the fact that rich nations have pushed their way to the front of the queue by willingly paying excessive prices. 

While some rich countries have started to re-distribute a fraction of their excess doses and have made funding commitments, this charity is not enough to fix the global vaccine supply problems.  

Clarken went on to say: “Pharmaceutical companies are holding the world to ransom at a time of unprecedented global crisis. Because profits are being prioritised ahead of people, budgets that could be used for building more health facilities in low-income countries are instead being decimated by these all-powerful corporations as governments the world over try to vaccinate their citizens."

The Alliance says it is vital that vaccine manufacturers are forced to justify why their vaccines cost more, but open competition is also critical to bring down prices and increase supply. All vaccines, old and new, only come down in price once there are multiple competitors in the market. 

The People’s Vaccine Alliance, both here in Ireland and globally, is calling on all governments to insist that the vaccine technology is transferred – to enable all qualified manufacturers worldwide, especially those in developing countries, to produce these vaccines. Governments, should also urgently approve a waiver of intellectual property rules related to Covid-19 technologies as proposed by South Africa and India. 

The waiver, which is supported by over 100 nations including the US and France has been repeatedly blocked by the European Union, including Ireland, and the UK.

Maaza Seyoum, from the African Alliance and People’s Vaccine Alliance Africa, said: “What possible reason then do the governments of the EU have to ignore the repeated calls from developing countries to break the vaccine monopolies that could drive up production while driving down price? 

“Enabling developing country manufacturers to produce vaccines is the fastest and surest way to ramp up supply and dramatically drive down prices. When this was done for HIV treatment, we saw prices drop by up to 99 percent.”

Never in history have governments been buying more doses of vaccines for one disease and the large-scale production should drive down costs, enabling companies to charge lower prices. Yet the EU reportedly paid even higher prices for its second order from Pfizer/BioNTech. 

Dramatic price escalation is predicted to continue in the absence of government action and with the possibility of booster shots being required for years to come. The CEO of Pfizer has suggested potential future prices of as much as $148 per dose - 148 times more than the potential cost of production. And because pharmaceutical companies anticipate charging such high prices for boosters, they will continue to sell doses to rich countries at the expense of protecting lives globally.  

Clarken concluded: "As Ireland reaches the milestone of nearly 70 percent of its citizen being fully vaccinated, less than one percent of people in low-income countries have received a vaccine, while the profits made by the companies has seen the CEOs become billionaires. 

“This vaccine inequity crisis is being facilitated by governments, including Ireland's, who continue to block the means to resolve this issue. I cannot emphasise enough the need for the Irish government to reconsider their position on the TRIPS waiver and call on them to meet with Members of the People’s Vaccine Alliance Ireland as a matter of urgency.”  

END


Contact
Caroline Reid, Communications Manager,  087 912 3165 

Notes to editors: 

  • Download the briefing note: The Great Vaccine Robbery
  • Further examples of how much both developing and wealthier nations have been potentially overpaying: 
  1. The highest reported price paid for Pfizer/BioNTech vaccines waspaid byIsraelat $28 a dose -nearly 24 times the potential production cost.
  2. Moderna has charged countries between 4 and 13 times the potential cost price of the vaccine and reportedly offered South Africa a price between $30-42 a dose -nearly 15 times higher than the potential production cost.
  3. Senegal, a lower-income nation, said it paid around $4 million for 200,000 doses for Sinopharm vaccines, which equates to around $20 a dose.
  4. The UK alone has potentially paid £1.8 billion more than the cost of production for the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines –enough money to pay every worker in its National Health Service a bonus of more than £1000.
  • Due to lack of transparency of pharmaceutical companies, the exact cost of research and development and manufacturing of vaccines are unknown. Estimates used in this release are based on studies of mRNA production techniques, carried out by Public Citizen with engineers at Imperial College. Their analysis suggests that it could cost $9.4bn to produce 8bn doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine - $1.18 per vaccine and for Moderna it would cost $22.8bn to produce 8bn doses - $2.85 per vaccine: https://www.citizen.org/article/how-to-make-enough-vaccine-for-the-world...
  • The figure that companies have been charging up to 24 times the potential cost of production is based on the reported information that is available. The highest reported cost paid was by Israel. For many countries there is no available data on how much they have paid for these vaccines.
  • Pfizer forecasts sales of $26 billion in revenue for 1.6 billion vaccine doses, therefore at an average cost per dose of $16.25 (against a potential cost price of $1.18 per dose). Moderna forecasts sales of between 800 million and 1 billion doses, therefore at an average cost of between $19.20 and $24 per dose (against a potential cost price of $2.85 per dose). The total combined forecasted sales income equates to $41 billion above the potential cost of production. 
  • Colombia is reported to have paid $12 per dose for 10 million doses of Pfizer/BioNTech and $29.50 per dose for 10 million doses of Moderna. A potential overspend of $375 million.  
  • Vaccine Billionaires data available here: https://www.oxfam.org/en/press-releases/covid-vaccines-create-9-new-bill...
  • Pfizer/ BioNTech and Moderna have received $8.25 billion dollars in public support for their vaccines between them - $5.75 billion for Moderna and $2.5 billion for Pfizer/BioNTech. This includes public funding and guaranteed government pre-orders. https://www.oxfamamerica.org/explore/research-publications/shot-recovery/ 
  • COVAX has reported that for its first 1.3 billion doses it paid an average price of $5.20 a dose. Given available reported prices for the vaccines in COVAX’s portfolio it is reasonable to assume COVAX paid less than $5.20 for the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine (reducing the average dose price), and likely paid more for the Pfizer/BioNTech (increasing the average dose price). The schemes’ lack of transparency prohibits proper scrutiny. 
  • Gavi reports COVAX will achieve 23 per cent coverage in AMC populations by end of 2021: https://www.gavi.org/sites/default/files/covid/covax/COVAX%20Supply%20Fo...
  • Competition drove down first-line regimen HIV medication prices by 99 percent over a 10 year period, from $10,000 to as low as $67 per patient per year: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3078828/#B67 
  • Analysis by the People’s Vaccine Alliance has found that just 0.28 per cent of the people in Low Income Countries have received at least a single dose, based on a combined population of  775,710,612, and data from Our World in Data which shows that as of Sunday 2,155,657 had been vaccinated with at least a single dose.  
  • UNICEF procures existing vaccines on behalf on many low- and middle-income countries. According to analysis in the Lancet they pay a median of 0.80 cents a dose for all vaccines https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00306-8/fulltext 
  • The Chinese Sinopharm vaccine is being sold for up to $40 a dose (making it 50 x more expensive than $0.80): https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(21)00306-8/fulltext#sec1 
  • The UK is reported to have paid £15 a dose for the Pfizer vaccine and has ordered 100 million doses. For Moderna they are reported to have paid £25 per dose and have ordered 17 million doses. If these two vaccines were produced at the production price estimated by Public Citizen the UK would have saved £1.8 billion, enough to pay every NHS worker a bonus of £1,012 (based on the NHS having 1.5million members of staff in England, 140,000 in Scotland, 78,000 in Wales and 64,000 in Northern Ireland).  
     
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Reactive: Famine Review Committee - Ethiopia

Media Reactive

For immediate release

In response to the new report by the IPC Famine Review Committee, Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said:

“The IPC report by independent food security experts today confirms our fears, that now 400,000 people are experiencing catastrophic hunger in Tigray, Ethiopia. The report’s projections for the future are even more grim, making predictions that there is a high risk of famine.

“Farmers should have been planting the crops they rely on to eat and sell, but many had to flee their lands, and others who stayed couldn’t plant because they couldn’t access their fields or didn’t have seeds. This comes even after the unilateral ceasefire, which was not observed as expected. Those who can get to markets are struggling to buy essential goods, as food and materials can’t cross into the conflict zones. This will only deepen and prolong this cycle of hunger and the need for aid. People who have been forced from their homes do not have enough food, clean water, or access to sanitation - and the spread of disease is on top of malnutrition is an additional major threat.

“This comes at a time when Oxfam and other humanitarians are struggling to reach those in urgent need and after a number of humanitarians have already been attacked and killed. Just this week, an aid convoy carrying materials for the UN and Oxfam was attacked by unknown forces and movement of humanitarian aid has been put on hold as a result.

“There is a true catastrophe unfolding before our eyes. The people of Ethiopia are doing all they can to support themselves and each other to survive, but need access to vital resources like food, clean water, safe shelter, and cash, and to be able to return to farming and feel hopeful they can harvest their crops in peace. Oxfam calls on all parties to respect international law, to protect civilians and ensure they are able to access humanitarian aid in safety.”

END
 

Contact
Caroline Reid, Communications Manager, caroline.reid@oxfam.org

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New report assesses Ireland’s role in creating sustainable and fair global food systems

  • More supports needed for Irish farmers to transition to sustainable agriculture approaches 
  • Out of sync: Ireland’s trade objectives and sustainable development objectives 
  • Ireland must invest and transform to meet sustainable food system ambition - warn Oxfam and Trócaire
  • Globally: Farming communities reliant on strengthening food security and resilience to climate shocks

21 July 2021

Today, aid agencies Trócaire and Oxfam Ireland release a major new report assessing the Irish government’s ambition to become a champion of fair and sustainable food systems on the global stage. 

The report is published in advance of the UN Food Systems Summit pre-meetings in Rome next week and follows the release of the SOFI 2021 report, The State of Food Insecurity and Nutrition in the World, which highlights rising global food insecurity and the urgency of delivering on the right to adequate food for all in sustainable ways.

The organisations are advocating for sustainable transformations that support small-scale food producers around the world. These context-specific transformations should protect everyone’s right to food, while sustaining the natural resources upon which agriculture relies.

Whilst acknowledging Ireland’s strong commitment to addressing hunger and malnutrition, the report found that Ireland’s ODA support for food and nutrition security needs to be more clearly directed toward agroecological initiatives, with only a minority of current ODA spending directed toward sustainable agriculture projects. 

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said: “Because of the climate and biodiversity emergencies, land use competition, and conflict there is a critical need for agriculture and food system transformation to prevent already at-risk communities falling into deeper peril. 

“Increasing the proportion of ODA spending used to support sustainable agriculture initiatives can move us in the right direction and ensure the communities Oxfam and Trócaire work with have a supportive enabling environment to help them to adapt and make their livelihoods climate resilient.”

The report also found that policy decisions emphasise Irish agri-food trade objectives to the detriment of sustainable development goals. This was found to be especially true in terms of subsidised Irish milk powder exports to West Africa, with the report stating that relationships with African countries should bolster local markets rather than putting them at risk. West African government officials, small-scale dairy owners and livestock farmers argue that powdered imports are nutritionally inferior and environmentally damaging, and are undermining local markets and dairy production.

Both Oxfam and Trócaire work in countries and contexts where agriculture and food are the main sources of income generation and employment. In addition, these small-scale farms quite often account for most of the food consumed within households and wider local communities, making their futures reliant on building their food security and strengthening their resilience to climate and other shocks.  

Caoimhe de Barra, CEO of Trócaire said: “A transformation is needed whereby food policies are centred on human rights, social equity, women’s empowerment, economic security and prosperity, environmental regeneration and resilience building to climate change and other shocks. We're calling on Ireland to ensure its leadership on sustainable food systems includes all of these elements.” 

A recent survey of 350 influential food and agriculture companies found that half do not disclose targets or report on progress to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while over a third do not sufficiently acknowledge their responsibility to ensure the human rights of workers in their supply chain - nor do they demonstrate any intention of improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers.  The report calls for binding legislation to ensure the agri-food sector is fulfilling its human rights and environmental obligations throughout its value chain.

Closer to home

Alongside its international analysis the report addresses domestic changes that need to take effect in Ireland. It recommends the establishment of a national sustainable food systems body that provides space for the voices of all stakeholders – including the most marginalised in Irish society – to be heard and integrated into decision-making. The report also found that narratives claiming that Ireland’s food is ‘produced sustainably’ or that the Irish food industry has made great progress towards ‘driving sustainable food production’ are difficult to validate when assessing agri-environmental indicators and recommends the use of appropriate sustainability metrics to measure progress on the transition to sustainable food production.

Sinead Mowlds, researcher and author of the Sustainable Food Systems report said: “Ireland has a real opportunity to forge a new direction in implementing a sustainable food systems approach if it is willing to address current shortcomings and make necessary adjustments. 

“For example, the report reveals that Irish farmers are not adequately supported to transition to more sustainable methods and approaches.  At present only 11 percent of funding in Ireland is directed toward projects that support ‘principally’ sustainable agriculture. This is compounded by the fact that, in some cases, farmers are penalised for their efforts to support biodiversity. 

The report calls for the scaling up of programmes with clear environmental and social sustainability objectives, as well as investment in rural economies and measures to increase the production of fresh, nutritious, and local produce.

END

Contact

Caroline Reid, Communications Manager with Oxfam: caroline.reid@oxfam.org | 087 912 3165

David O’Hare, Head of Communications with Trócaire: david.OHare@trocaire.org | +44 7900053884   

Notes 

  • Read the Summary and Recommendations report here.
  • Read the full reort here
  • Spokespeople from Oxfam Ireland and Trócaire are available for interview. 
  • Report author, Sinead Mowlds, is also available for interview. Sinead is an independent consultant, Research Affiliate to the Cambridge Central Asia Forum, and M&E expert with the Natural Resource Institute at Greenwich University. Since 2007, her research has focused on sustainable development and food and nutrition security for rural and marginalised people. During that time, she’s worked with international organisations, think tanks, the private sector, and NGOS, including UN agencies, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Brookings Institution, the European Commission, and the OECD. Her research aims to understand how complexity sciences can be applied to policies relating to food systems and climate justice. She holds a BSc in International Development & Food Policy from the University College of Cork, and a MPhil in Development Studies from University of Cambridge. 
  • This report is being released a week before UNFSS the pre-summit meeting. The UNFSS was initially characterised as a ‘People’s Summit’ which would address solutions and contain diverse dialogue on topics ranging from nutrition, sustainability, equitable livelihoods, and resilience. However, in the lead up to the summit, concerns about the approaches being taken by the UNFSS have been expressed by civil society, especially those representing small-holders in the Global South and indigenous peoples. In 2020, over 300 civil society organisations signed a joint letter over shared concerns around the lack of human rights approaches and legitimacy and the lack of inclusiveness in preparations for the UNFSS. Since then, the Civil Society and Indigenous Peoples’ Mechanism (CSM) of the Committee on World Food Security (CFS), the largest international space of civil society organisations (CSOs) working to eradicate food insecurity and malnutrition, have voiced their concerns over the proposed operation of the UNFSS and put forward proposals for how these concerns could be addressed.  These include a proposal that the UNFSS should have an explicit aim to “reverse the corporate capture of food systems, an additional action track should be established, as part of the formal summit process, to focus on the transformation of corporate food systems. 

Stats 

  • At global level, agriculture, forestry and other land usage accounts for 23 percent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Add in other emissions from the food chain, from farm to consumer, and the estimate rises towards 34 percent.   
  • In Europe, the agricultural sector accounts for 10.3 percent of GHG emissions. Irish agriculture contributes more than 30 percent of the country’s national GHG emissions. This figure does not include the emissions related to land use and land use change generated by imports of commodities such as soy and beef.   
  • We know that about 9 percent of the world’s population is undernourished to various degrees, while another 39 percent of adults globally were overweight in 2016, and 13 percent were obese.  
  • According to the FAO 3.5 percent of the Irish population, or 171,000 people are severely food insecure while a Safefood study from 2018 found that 1 in 10 Irish households were in food poverty. According to latest WHO figures 25 percent of the Irish population or 1.22m people are obese (2016). This is an increase from 16 percent in 2000.  

For a food system to be sustainable, it needs to generate positive value across all three dimensions of sustainability: economic, social, and environmental. The FAO (2018) elaborates on this:  

  • On the economic dimension, a food system is considered sustainable if the activities conducted by each food system actor or support service provider are commercially or fiscally viable. The activities should generate benefits, or economic value-added, for all categories of stakeholders: wages for workers, taxes for governments, profits for enterprises, and food supply improvements for consumers.  
  • On the social dimension, a food system is considered sustainable when there is equity in the distribution of the economic value-added, taking into account vulnerable groups categorised by gender, age, race etc. Of fundamental importance, food system activities need to contribute to the advancement of important socio-cultural outcomes, such as nutrition and health, with respect for local and indigenous peoples’ traditions, labour conditions, and animal welfare.  
  • On the environmental dimension, sustainability is determined by ensuring that the impacts of food system activities on the surrounding natural environment are neutral or positive, taking into consideration biodiversity, water, soil, animal and plant health, the carbon footprint, the water footprint, food loss and waste, and toxicity  
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Six-fold increase in people suffering famine-like conditions since pandemic began

  • Conflict, climate and covid - the three lethal Cs fuelling hunger 
  • People dying from hunger outpacing Covid-19 fatalities, warns Oxfam 
  • 11 people are likely dying every minute from hunger 

9 July 2021

Today, a new Oxfam report warns that as many as 11 people are likely dying of hunger and malnutrition each minute, outpacing the current global death rate of Covid-19 which is roughly seven people per minute. 

Oxfam’s report, ‘The Hunger Virus Multiplies’, says that conflict has remained the primary cause of hunger since the pandemic began, pushing over half a million people into famine-like conditions - a startling six-fold increase since 2020. This coupled with the climate emergency and economic shocks due to Covid-19 has resulted in 155 million people, a 20 million jump from last year’s figures, now living in crisis levels of food insecurity or worse.  

In addition, mass unemployment and severely disrupted food production have led to a 40 percent surge in global food prices - the highest rise in over a decade.  

Jim Clarken, Chief Executive of Oxfam Ireland said: “Today, unrelenting conflict on top of Covid-19 economic fallout, and a worsening climate crisis, have pushed more than 520,000 people to the brink of starvation. 

“Despite this, global military spending rose by $51 billion - enough to cover six and a half times what the UN says it needs to stop people going hungry.  

“Starvation continues to be used as a weapon of war as civilians are deprived of access to food and water including that provided by aid agencies. People can’t live safely, or find food, when their markets are being bombed, crops and livestock destroyed, and humanitarian access hindered.” 

Afghanistan, Ethiopia, South Sudan, Syria, and Yemen have had protracted crisis and conflict for many years, some for decades, without respite, and continue to experience extreme levels of hunger. 

More than 350,000 people in Ethiopia's Tigray region are experiencing famine-like conditions according to recent IPC analysis - the largest number recorded since Somalia in 2011, when a quarter of a million Somalis died. 

Mulu Gebre, 26, who had to flee her hometown in Tigray, Ethiopia while nine months pregnant, told Oxfam: “I came to Mekele because I heard that food and milk were offered for infants. When I arrived here, I couldn’t find food even for myself. I need food especially for my child, who is now only four months –and already born underweight.” 

Clarken concluded: “Already at-risk groups - informal workers, women, displaced people and other marginalised communities - continue to be hit hardest by conflict, disruptive climate related events and the economic disruption brought on by Covid-19.

“Governments across the world must stop conflict from continuing to fuel catastrophic hunger and instead work to address the drivers of food insecurity and ensure aid agencies can safely and quickly reach those in need. Donor governments must immediately and fully fund the UN’s humanitarian appeal to help save lives now, and the international Community via the Security Council, of which Ireland is a member, must hold to account all those who use hunger as a weapon of war.” 

END 

Contact 

Caroline Reid, Communications Manager, caroline.reid@oxfam.org

Notes to the editor 

  • Oxfam spokespeople are available for interview.
  • A multi-country written, visual and b-roll content are available upon request.
  • Download 'The Hunger Virus Multiplies': How the coronavirus is fuelling hunger in a hungry world'. 
  • Some examples of the report hunger hotspots include: 
  1. India: Spiralling Covid-19 infections devastated public health as well as income, particularly for migrant workers and farmers, who were forced to leave their crops in the field to rot. Over 70 percent of people surveyed in 12 states have downgraded their diet because they could not afford to pay for food. School closures have also deprived 120 million children of their main meal.  
  2. Yemen: Blockades, conflict and a fuel crisis have caused staple food prices to more than double since 2016. Humanitarian aid was slashed by half, curtailing humanitarian agencies’ response and cutting food assistance for five million people. The number of people experiencing famine-like conditions is expected to almost triple to 47,000 by July 2021. 
  3. South Sudan: Ten years since its independence, over 100,000 people are now facing famine-like conditions. Continued violence and flooding disrupted agriculture in the past year and forced 4.2 million people to flee their homes. Less than 20 percent of the $1.68 billion UN Humanitarian appeal for South Sudan has so far been funded. 
  • ACTION NEEDED 

There is no end to hunger unless drastic collective measures are taken to end the underlying injustices fuelling hunger. As governments rebuild after the Coronavirus pandemic, seven urgent actions are required to stop the growing hunger crisis and build more just and sustainable food systems that work for all people: 

  1. Provide emergency assistance to save lives now: Donor governments must fully fund the UN’s global food security appeal and ensure it directly reaches those most affected. Governments must also scale up social protection, including financing a global social protection fund, and support small-scale farmers and pastoralists to restock and prepare for the next planting season. 
  2. Guarantee humanitarian assistance reaches people: Conflict parties must facilitate immediate humanitarian access to help save civilians from starvation. Where aid is blocked, the international community must act to stop hunger being used as a weapon of war and hold perpetrators accountable. 
  3. Forge inclusive and sustainable peace: Warring parties must forge inclusive and sustainable peace that puts human security first and addresses urgent hunger in conflict-affected countries. Leaders should live up to their commitments to include marginalised groups including youth, women, and minorities in peace processes. Ceasefires have been shown to last longer and be more effective where women are actively involved in the negotiations.  
  4. Build fairer, more resilient, and sustainable food systems: Governments must commit to bolder actions at the upcoming UN Committee on World Food Security meeting in October in order to put fair, gender-just, resilient, and sustainable food systems at the heart of the post-pandemic recovery. Governments and the private sector must also scale-up investments in small-scale and agro-ecological food production, ensure producers earn a fair income by establishing minimum producer prices and other support mechanisms, and ensure workers earn a living wage.  
  5. Promote women’s leadership in Covid-19 solutions: Women must have the opportunity to lead on decisions related to the pandemic response and recovery, including how to address our broken food system. Action is also needed to address discrimination faced by women food producers on issues such as access to land, markets, information, credit, extension services, and technology.  
  6. Support a People’s Vaccine: To help prevent new virus variants from threatening the health of the world and its economy, G7 governments must end pharmaceutical Covid-19 vaccines monopoles to help developing countries vaccinate their populations and prevent millions more from falling into extreme poverty. 
  7. Take urgent action to tackle the climate crisis: Ahead of this year’s Climate Summit in December, rich polluting nations must dramatically cut emissions, keep global temperatures from rising above 1.5 degrees and help smallholder food producers adapt to climate change. 
  • Since the pandemic began, Oxfam has reached nearly 15 million of the world’s most vulnerable people with food, cash assistance, and clean water, as well as with projects to support farmers. We work together with more than 694 partners across 68 countries. Oxfam aims to reach millions of people over the coming months and is urgently seeking funding to support its programmes across the world.

Conflict is the primary factor pushing nearly 100 million people in 23 conflict-torn countries into crisis or worse levels of food insecurity. Source: GRFC 2021.

  • Except for Madagascar, all countries facing famine-like conditions are torn by conflict. Most countries facing IPC Phase 4 (including Afghanistan, Burkina Faso, Syria and Nigeria) are also hit by conflict. 
  • The collective three drivers of hunger, Covid, conflict, and climate impacted 20 out of the 25 countries mentioned in this report.
  • According to Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) 2020 Global Report, 48 million people were living in internal displacement as a result of conflict and violence in 59 countries and territories as of 31 December 2020. This figure is the highest ever recorded.
  • Further information on report methodology sources available upon request
Posted In:

Dr. Mike Ryan of WHO and UNAIDS Director Winnie Byanyima launch Ireland’s People’s Vaccine Alliance

Dr. Mike Ryan of WHO and UNAIDS Director Winnie Byanyima launch Ireland’s People’s Vaccine Alliance

  • New Alliance call on Irish government to address global Covid-19 vaccine inequity crisis 
  • Irish organisations, health practitioners, trade unions, and activists unite for a People’s Vaccine 

 8 July 2021

Today, Irish organisations, health practitioners, trade unions and activists were joined by international guest speakers including Dr. Mike Ryan from the World Health Organisation and Winnie Byanyima of UNAIDS to officially launch the People’s Vaccine Alliance Ireland.

The diverse coalition came together united in their call on the Irish government to take a stand for fairness, equality, and global health by addressing global Covid-19 vaccine inequity crisis. The People’s Vaccine Alliance are asking Ireland to use its voice within the EU to support the TRIPS waiver and to endorse the World Health Organisation Covid Technology Access Pool to facilitate the sharing of know-how by Pharmaceutical companies to increase Covid-19 vaccine production. 

The TRIPS waiver is a mechanism at the World Trade Centre that would allow for the temporary suspension of intellectual property rights for Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. A measure that could help break Big Pharma monopolies and increase vaccine supplies so there are enough doses available for everyone, everywhere. 

The Alliance said: “Pharmaceutical company monopolies could leave countries in the Global South waiting years for widespread vaccination. This must change, so they too can protect their citizens. Not only is it the morally right thing to do, but in addition, until the vaccine is available worldwide, we risk the emergence and spread of new variants. Restricting vaccine supply to protect profits during the pandemic means all populations remain at further risk of health and economic shocks and crises.” 

Majo Rivas, a Paraguayan-Irish People's Vaccine activist said: “I began speaking up about the TRIPS waiver and global access to vaccines because I was worried for my loved ones. I just did what most people in my shoes would do. 

“But this isn't just about Paraguay. In the news, we see the funeral pyres in India, the overwhelmed health system in Uganda, more than 1,100 children under 10 have died of Covid-19 in Brazil. Each of them someone's loved one, someone's child, someone's friend. We cannot allow more people in the Global South to lose lives and livelihoods; we need a People's vaccine now.”

Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS said: “Covid-19, like HIV and AIDS, is laying bare the underlying inequalities in our world and in our societies - inequalities that ultimately hurt all of us and threaten epidemic control and our long-term recovery efforts. Fixing them, however, is possible.

“As Covid continues to devastate countries, the choice our governments face today is to take lifesaving action or repeat tragic and avoidable mistakes that resulted in millions of lives needlessly lost at the height of the HIV epidemic because life-saving treatments remained out of reach for the people who needed them. I urge the Irish Government to reconsider their current position and support the TRIPS waiver - too many lives are at risk for them not to do so."

The Alliance concluded: "Ireland is in line to get 14 million doses of at least five different vaccines during 2021, more than enough to vaccinate our population of 4.9 million. To date, over four million doses have been administered in Ireland. This affords some degree of safety, protection and comfort in the face of rapidly spreading variants such as Delta, and emerging ones like Lambda. But to truly defeat Covid-19 in Ireland, united action worldwide is required. 

"Governments and not-for-profit organisations have contributed tens of billions of Euros to the development of Covid-19 vaccines. In 2021 alone, sales of Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson and Johnson vaccines are expected to yield €50 billion.  

"To produce sufficient vaccines for everyone globally, manufacturing capacity must be greatly increased; over 140 sites have been identified as having unused manufacturing potential including large reputable pharmaceutical companies such as Biolyse in Canada, Incepta in Bangladesh, Teva in Israel and Bavarian Nordic in Denmark - all of whom have asked to assist in the manufacture of vaccines.  

"For this to happen, pharmaceutical companies must agree to share their know-how and all suitable qualified vaccine manufacturers must be permitted to produce vaccines free from patents.

"Members of our Alliance have decades of experience of how best to facilitate access to life saving medicines and vaccines in low-income countries during global pandemics. We reiterate our previous calls on the Irish government to meet with us in relation to their current position on the TRIPS waiver as a matter of urgency."   

For more information, please visit http://peoplesvaccine.ie 

ENDS 

Contact  

Caroline Reid | Oxfam Ireland | 087 912 3165 | caroline.reid@oxfam.org

Jo-Ann Ward | ActionAid Ireland | 087 768 6289 | jo-ann.ward@actionaid.org

Notes to the Editor 

  • People's Vaccine Alliance Members are available for interview.
  • Audio-visual clips from guest speakers Dr. Mike Ryan and Winnie Byanyima will be available after the event upon request. Contact caroline.reid@oxfam.org to request access.

The People’s Vaccine Alliance Ireland is coordinated by: Access to Medicines Ireland, ActionAid Ireland, Amnesty International Ireland, AMRI, Comhlamh, Christian Aid Ireland, GOAL, Friends of the Earth Ireland, ICCL, Irish General Practice Nurses Educational Association, Irish Global Health Network, Oxfam Ireland, Plan International Ireland and Trócaire.  

The people’s Vaccine Alliance Ireland’s Demands:  

  1. Ireland must use its voice within the EU to support the TRIPS waiver - Call on governments to temporarily suspend intellectual property rights at the World Trade Organisation for Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and diagnostics. This will help break Big Pharma monopolies and increase supplies so there are enough doses for everyone, everywhere. For more info, click here and here.  
  2. Ireland must endorse the World Health Organisation (WHO) COVID Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) to facilitate the sharing of know-how by Pharmaceutical companies to increase vaccine production. For more info click here.  

Frequently asked questions about Vaccine equity

The People’s Vaccine Alliance launch was supported by:  

  • Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme
  • Isabel Simpson, Executive Director, Médecins Sans Frontières Ireland   
  • Majo Rivas, Paraguayan-Irish People's Vaccine activist  
  • Mustaqeem De Gama, South African Permanent Mission to the WTO in relation to the TRIPS waiver
  • Senator Alice-Mary Higgins, Irish Independent Politician 
  • Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS 
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