EU Should Step up to Promote Vaccine Equity in Asia – Dr Dushni Weerakoon

2 November 2021

Dr Dushni Weerakoon urged the European Union (EU) to step up to promote vaccine equity in Asia, in a podcast with the European Confederation of Relief and Development NGOs (CONCORD). Speaking on its Talking Development Episode 10 on ‘Is the EU walking the talk of vaccine equity?’, Dr Weerakoon cautioned that it would be a mistake for the EU to not recognise that countries such as the US and China are gaining ground as a result.

“The EU has to keep in mind that its trade and investment links are strong in the Asian region and if it does not keep on track, other countries will step in where the EU is absent,” she said, pointing out that China and to some extent, Russia stepped in when most Asian countries were unable to access vaccines from the Serum Institute of India.

“There’s a lot of catching up for the EU to do. If it’s seen as the main player in holding back TRIPS waivers, etc. that makes it even worse,” Dr Weerakoon said.

We’re all aware of the 200 million pledge they’ve made in September but even the COVAX pledges have not materialised. We want to see real action that delivers solutions,” she emphasised.

Dr Weerakoon also highlighted that Asian countries have the capacity to produce pharmaceuticals, which is another area that the EU can support.

Listen to the podcast HERE.