Sir, – There is unanimous agreement that the roll-out of a global Covid-19 immunisation programme is being hampered by insufficient vaccine production, leading to shortages in the supply of vaccines in Ireland and globally .
The solution is to upscale production by qualified pharmaceutical companies with untapped manufacturing capacity.
In order for this to happen, pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca, which hold patents relating to Covid-19 vaccines, must share their know-how and intellectual property rights – and be reasonably compensated for doing so.
No other proposal makes possible the rapid upscaling of manufacturing capacity required to increase equitable Covid-19 immunisation globally.
The public is entitled, in the midst of a pandemic, to insist that public health should take precedence over commercial gain, particularly when almost 50 per cent of the research and development costs come from public funds.
We call upon the pharmaceutical industry to demonstrate solidarity with global public health and to immediately share its know-how and intellectual property rights with the World Health Organisation’s Covid Technology Access Pool (C-Tap), which was established to maximise vaccine production globally. – Yours, etc,
Dr KIERAN HARKIN,
Access to Medicines
Sir, – Last week, the Taoiseach said that 135,000 of the most vulnerable would be vaccinated by the end of February; later the Minister for Education said 1,000,000 would be vaccinated by the end of June; on Monday, the Minister for Health 700,000 would be vaccinated by the end of March.
The pieces of the jigsaw simply do not fit, which does not exactly engender confidence in the leadership. – Yours, etc,