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For Oral Answer on : 27/01/2022
Question Number(s): 48,78 Question Reference(s): 3911/22, 3635/22
Department: Foreign Affairs
Asked by: Kieran O’Donnell T.D., David Stanton T.D.


* To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs if he will report on the work of his Department in supporting the distribution of vaccines to protect against Covid-19 in developing countries; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– Kieran O’Donnell T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 27 January, 2022.

* To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs the amount of funding provided by Ireland under the COVAX system for the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

– David Stanton T.D.

For ORAL answer on Thursday, 27 January, 2022.


Ireland remains committed to an effective global response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past two years, my Department, through the Irish Aid programme, has invested €200 million in global public health with further investment to come in 2022 of at least another €100 million. This includes COVID-19 specific response measures, and ongoing work to strengthen health systems for the prevention and treatment of pre-existing conditions.
Experience from Irish Aid’s engagement in the fight against HIV and Ebola demonstrates the importance of effective public health systems. Ireland continues to support health system strengthening through our funding to partners such as WHO, Gavi (The Vaccines Alliance), and to the Global Fund for TB, HIV / AIDS and Malaria.

The WHO is optimistic that the world will hit the target of 70% of the world’s population receiving their primary vaccination by mid-year. It is estimated that total production of vaccines will reach 19 billion by July. On 16 January, a shipment of vaccines to Rwanda included the billionth dose supplied via the COVAX facility. However, as long as a significant proportion of the world’s population remains unvaccinated and without full access to testing, tracking and treatment, COVID-19 will remain a threat to lives and livelihoods.

Last week, I announced an additional Irish contribution of €5 million to COVAX at a Gavi event. This brings Ireland’s overall contribution to COVAX to date to €13.5 million. This supports the purchase and distribution of vaccines in lower income countries. Ireland was one of the first donors to agree to cover the additional costs associated with donations of vaccines via the facility. The recent additional funding to COVAX will contribute to those costs, the financing of vaccines, and support to country readiness, such as the provision of equipment and technical support to boost vaccine rollout.

The Department of Health has received approval from Government to donate up to 5 million surplus vaccines to developing countries, largely through the COVAX facility. To date, more than 1.3 million of these doses have been delivered to countries including Nigeria, Ghana and Indonesia, with more expected. Further donations are expected in the coming weeks. The Department of Health, working closely with DFA, also facilitated the bilateral donation of 335,000 AstraZeneca doses to Uganda, specifically targeted to the vaccination of teachers to enable the reopening of schools. In addition, the response by the Irish public to the UNICEF “Get a Vaccine, Give a Vaccine” Covid-19 appeal has been exceptional, and acknowledged internationally.

With support from the Irish Aid programme to the HSE Global Health programme, key lessons learned from Ireland’s response to COVID-19 have been shared with the Mozambican health service, while health workers on the frontline of the pandemic in Jordan and Ethiopia were supported with psychosocial training for resilience.

Finally, Ireland continues to promote the sharing of technology through various means, for example, the intellectual property underpinning Ireland’s COVID Tracker App has been shared to assist countries in their contact tracing efforts.