- 06 May 21
"This decision marks a moment of immense moral significance in international policy, putting global need ahead of any narrow considerations," President Higgins notes.
President of Ireland Michael D. Higgins has issued a statement in response to news that US President Joe Biden's administration is supporting efforts to waive intellectual property (IP) protections for Covid-19 vaccines.
Yesterday, May 5, US Trade Representative Katherine Tai announced the proposed policy change.
"This is a global health crisis, and the extraordinary circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic call for extraordinary measures," she stated. "The Administration believes strongly in intellectual property protections, but in service of ending this pandemic, supports the waiver of those protections for COVID-19 vaccines. We will actively participate in text-based negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO) needed to make that happen. Those negotiations will take time given the consensus-based nature of the institution and the complexity of the issues involved.
"The Administration's aim is to get as many safe and effective vaccines to as many people as fast as possible," she continued. "As our vaccine supply for the American people is secured, the Administration will continue to ramp up its efforts – working with the private sector and all possible partners – to expand vaccine manufacturing and distribution. It will also work to increase the raw materials needed to produced those vaccines."
These extraordinary times and circumstances of call for extraordinary measures.
The US supports the waiver of IP protections on COVID-19 vaccines to help end the pandemic and we’ll actively participate in @WTO negotiations to make that happen. pic.twitter.com/96ERlboZS8
— Ambassador Katherine Tai (@AmbassadorTai) May 5, 2021
In response, President Higgins stated:
"This decision marks a moment of immense moral significance in international policy, putting global need ahead of any narrow considerations. It has the potential to be exemplary, building hope in so many areas for a real new beginning in our mutual interdependence."
"This decision marks a moment of immense moral significance in international policy, putting global need ahead of any narrow considerations.
It has the potential to be exemplary, building hope in so many areas for a real new beginning in our mutual interdependence." - MDH https://t.co/VS6getVwWm
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) May 5, 2021
In a statement President Higgins previously issued on May Day, he said that "Solidarity, in an inter-dependent world, must mean – when it comes to global challenges such as pandemics, climate change, sustainability – standing shoulder to shoulder with those in other countries, especially poorer nations with fewer financial resources, so that, for example, vaccines are made available, accessible and affordable for all."
Oxfam Ireland also responded to the news, noting that it "will bring hope to millions of people around the world."
This will bring hope to millions of people around the world. Time for 🇮🇪 and 🇪🇺 to end their opposition to the #TRIPSwaiver now. The world needs a #PeoplesVaccine. @simoncoveney @LeoVaradkar @MichealMartinTD https://t.co/MATvGbKMxH
— Oxfam Ireland (@OxfamIreland) May 5, 2021