Business leaders call on corporate Ireland to support UNICEF’s global COVID-19 vaccine rollout

1st October 2021

PRESS RELEASE

Business leaders call on corporate Ireland to support UNICEF’s global COVID-19 vaccine rollout

Leading companies, including Aerogen, Avolon, ESB, ICON plc, KPMG Ireland, Mason Hayes & Curran LLP and Zurich Ireland, release Open Letter to mark launch of the UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance

 

Download Open Letter and multimedia materials

DUBLIN, 01 October 2021 – Senior business executives from seven of Ireland’s leading companies today released an Open Letter urging fellow corporate leaders to support the global rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. The Open Letter, signed by executives at Aerogen, Avolon, ESB, ICON plc, KPMG Ireland, Mason Hayes & Curran LLP and Zurich Ireland, calls on all corporate leaders in Ireland to join the UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance.

The Alliance supports UNICEF’s ambitious goal to deliver over two billion COVID-19 vaccines by the end of 2021 through its established global vaccine procurement and delivery infrastructure. The Open Letter showcases the call to urgent action from Lead Alliance members to their fellow senior business leaders. The letter highlights the gulf between vaccination rates in rich countries and in some of the world’s poorest – where fully vaccinated rates are below 5% in many cases. The signatories also describe UNICEF’s Corporate Vaccine Alliance as an historic opportunity for companies to help bring the pandemic to an end for children, societies and economies.

The human toll of the pandemic is clear, as is the impact on the world economy. A study by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has projected that, if we collectively fail to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, the world risks global GDP losses of up to US$9.2 trillion (with half of that cost being incurred by high income countries) this year alone. With the support of the Alliance, UNICEF is leveraging its global vaccine infrastructure and decades of experience vaccinating nearly half the world’s children each year to ensure health care workers, educators and those who care for children in 92 lower income countries are vaccinated as soon as possible.

Peter Power, Executive Director of UNICEF Ireland, said the Corporate Vaccine Alliance has been created to provide companies in Ireland a collective platform to make a difference on a global scale. “UNICEF is in a unique position to work with Irish corporates on this historic initiative. Currently we vaccinate 2 billion children each year, and we are now doubling that capacity to support the global COVID -19 vaccination programme. We all recognize that we stand at a pivotal moment between vaccines and variants. Corporate Ireland can change the trajectory of the pandemic and we need their support to help us ensure fair and safe access to vaccines across the world. Business leaders understand that vaccinating the world is not just the right thing to do, but also something we must do to restart our global economy.

“I want to thank our existing Corporate Vaccine Alliance members and their leaders for their generous contributions and leadership with this Open Letter. UNICEF echoes their call for more businesses to join the UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance. The more Irish companies that join the Alliance, the faster UNICEF will be able to tackle this urgent need and the faster we can bring an end to the COVID-19 pandemic. We feel this is a truly unique opportunity for companies. Every company that joins directly supports the largest drive in history to deliver vaccinations globally and to help end the pandemic for everyone, everywhere,” he said.

John Power, CEO of Aerogen said, “We must ensure that the most vulnerable children do not suffer the consequences of the pandemic. That is why Aerogen is committed to supporting UNICEF as a Lead Member of the UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance. This is a global cross-border effort where businesses from Ireland have a role to play. As a medical technology company we are committing our expertise and resources to ending this pandemic, especially for the most vulnerable.”

Dómhnal Slattery, CEO of Avolon said, “As well contributing to 15,759 vaccine deliveries for UNICEF’s global vaccine campaign Avolon have been fortunate to be able to help fund oxygen tanks, PPE and other life-saving supplies around the world throughout the pandemic. While restarting the global economy and ensuring the movement of people is essential to business, the vaccine is essential to life. Avolon is proud to support UNICEF’s global response to COVID-19.”

Paddy Hayes, Chief Executive of ESB said, “ESB has a long tradition of supporting the communities we serve and where we live and work. Through our history, ESB has worked in over 120 countries worldwide. By supporting UNICEF’s Corporate Vaccine Alliance as a Lead Member, we can help UNICEF ensure that some of the world’s most vulnerable families and at-risk communities are included and are able to access vaccines.”

Brendan Brennan, CFO of ICON plc said, “ICON has been involved in conducting global clinical trials for several COVID-19 vaccines. Our teams have worked tirelessly for over a year to help scientists bring hope through novel vaccines and therapeutics. Our commitment to global public health and advanced research is why we have joined the UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance. We recognise our responsibility to the most vulnerable populations who need vaccines and treatments to fight COVID-19 right now. ICON is honoured to be a part of the Alliance, and we encourage others in Ireland to get involved.”

Seamus Hand, Managing Partner of KPMG in Ireland said, “At KPMG, we’re committed to playing our part in creating equitable societies for all and that’s why the ‘Get a Vaccine, Give a Vaccine’ campaign resonated with our people. Staff donated through payroll giving and the firm matched those donations, which helped to fund vaccinates for over 11,000 healthcare workers in developing countries. We’re proud to play our part in this collaboration with UNICEF and we urge others to support the Corporate Vaccine Alliance.”

Declan Black, Managing Partner of Mason Hayes & Curran LLP said, “Mason Hayes & Curran LLP is pleased to sign-on as a Lead Member of the UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance and is delighted to step up to support UNICEF’s global response to COVID-19. Not only is restarting the global economy and the movement of people helpful to our business, we see the justice and value in ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to receive vaccination against COVID-19.”

Anthony Brennan, CEO of Zurich Ireland said, “UNICEF’s Corporate Vaccine Alliance aligns with the ongoing work of the Z Zurich Foundation and builds on Zurich’s public commitment to help the most vulnerable access COVID-19 vaccines. We know that no one is safe until we are all safe, and it is a global race between vaccines and new variants. It is essential that everyone has a fair chance to be protected from COVID-19 and we call on businesses in Ireland, of all sizes, to join us in protecting our world.”

Full list of current UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance members

Lead Members:

Aerogen, Avolon, ESB, ICON plc, KPMG Ireland, Mason Hayes & Curran LLP, Zurich Ireland

Alliance Members:

AerCap, Aldi Ireland, An Post, Ardagh Group, Brown Bag Films, Chambers Ireland, Coillte, daa, Dublin Chamber, Irish Life, Jons Civil Engineering, Lifes2good Foundation, National College of Ireland, Ornua, Tricel

The UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance initiative builds on the success of UNICEF’s Get a Vaccine, Give a Vaccine campaign, which has already seen individuals and companies in Ireland donate over one million vaccine deliveries. The Alliance is a corporate specific initiative which enables corporate Ireland to play their part in ending the pandemic. Both initiatives support UNICEF’s role in the world’s largest ever vaccine procurement and supply operation as part of the global COVAX Facility. UNICEF was asked to join COVAX by partners WHO, Gavi The Vaccine Alliance, and CEPI in 2020, due to its expertise in procuring half the world’s vaccines for children under 5 every year.

The scale of the effort is enormous and COVAX has already delivered over 300 million doses to 143 countries, since March this year. However, UNICEF says more funding is needed to achieve its historic mission.

After GAVI, the WHO or countries have paid for the vaccine doses themselves, €4.48 allows UNICEF to deliver two doses of COVID-19 vaccine from the point of arrival in country to the individual, in countries facing humanitarian crisis. And UNICEF is asking companies interested in joining the UNICEF Corporate Vaccine Alliance to visit: www.unicef.ie/alliance  

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ENDS

For Editors:

Download the Open Letter here and download images from the COVID-19 vaccine rollout here.

About COVAX

COVAX is co-led by CEPI, Gavi and WHO – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementation partner, developed and developing country vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. It is the only global initiative that is working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-income and lower-income countries.

About UNICEF’s role in COVAX
UNICEF is leveraging its experience as the largest single vaccine buyer in the world and working with manufacturers and partners on the procurement of COVID-19 vaccine doses, as well as freight, logistics and storage. In collaboration with the PAHO Revolving Fund, UNICEF is leading efforts to procure and supply doses of COVID-19 vaccines for COVAX. In addition, UNICEF and WHO are working with governments around the clock to ensure that countries are ready to receive the vaccines, with appropriate cold chain equipment in place and health workers trained to dispense them.

UNICEF is also playing a lead role in efforts to foster trust in vaccines, delivering vaccine confidence communications and tracking and addressing misinformation around the world.

About UNICEF

UNICEF works in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children. Across 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone. For more information about UNICEF and its work for children visit www.unicef.ie

Follow UNICEF on Twitter and Facebook

For more information, please contact:

Danny Smits, UNICEF Ireland, + 353 871308070, danny@unicef.ie