Human Rights Council 52nd Session: Interactive dialogue - Access to COVID-19 vaccines - PR UN, WTO and other organisations Geneva

Human Rights Council 52nd Session: Interactive dialogue - Access to COVID-19 vaccines | 16-03-2023

Benelux statement delivered by H.E. Mr Lars Tummers, Deputy Permanent Representative, Ambassador for Humanitarian Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Thank you Chair/President. I deliver this statement on behalf of the Benelux countries, we align ourselves with the EU statement.

We thank the Special Rapporteur for his excellent report.

We are deeply concerned about the inequitable access to vaccines and medicines in many low and middle income countries. COVID-19 demonstrated that limited access to vaccines has harmful consequences for combating new and existing infectious diseases and for preventing others from re-emerging.

Mr(s) (Vice) President,

Resilient health systems are imperative to ensuring equitable and affordable  access to vaccines for all. The pressure on these systems during health emergencies, undermines the right to health and has a detrimental effect on them. This includes upholding regular immunization campaigns, preserving a well-functioning health work-force and ensuring access to basic health care, including mental as well as quality sexual and reproductive health services.

We welcome the messenger-RNA vaccine technology transfer hub and other initiatives supported by BENELUX countries that will help achieve the common objective of equitable access to vaccines. We want to emphasize the importance of investing in a qualitative health workforce and further enhancing the collaboration with the private sector in providing access to know-how, in sharing of technology and avoiding vaccine shortage in low and middle income countries.

Mr(s) Special Rapporteur: how can we stimulate a stronger collaboration with the private sector to ensure a better, timely and predictable supply of and access to vaccines?