The CEO of Oxfam has called for a full waiver of the Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS) on Covid-19 vaccines.
Jim Clarken warned that until the waiver is delivered, there will not be enough supply of Covid-19 vaccines to inoculate the whole world until around 2023 or 2024.
More than 100 countries, led by South Africa and India, will again make the case today at the World Trade Organization for a waiver of TRIPS so that more of the vaccines can be made outside of the companies who developed them.
The European Union continues to block the proposal, an approach that is currently supported by Ireland.
Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Mr Clarken said that the waiver would free up the intellectual property in terms of ingredients and the method of manufacture.
He added that if this was done, there are pharmaceutical companies in three different continents that would be willing and ready to scale up production immediately.
Mr Clarken said it is important to remember that most, or a very large percentage, of the research costs of these vaccines were paid for by taxpayers who also guaranteed sales of the product.
All companies will make plenty of profit, he said, and there is no need for them to hold onto the intellectual property.
He said such action has been done before during the global HIV/AIDs outbreak in the 1980s.
Mr Clarken said that new strains will continue to emerge until everyone is vaccinated and this poses a fresh threat to everyone.
The bottom line, he said, is that there is just not enough supply of vaccines and will not be enough supply until the waiver is lifted and there is mass production of vaccines.
Mr Clarken said that new research has found that the majority of Irish people want the waiver to happen and believe it is the right and fair thing to do.
It is possible to do, he said, it just needs political will.