In response to President Trump’s reported new Executive Order prioritizing the COVID-19 vaccine for Americans, Niko Lusiani, Senior Advisor with Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“President Trump’s efforts are just another example of sloppy and misguided initiatives that put both Americans and our friends around the world at risk.
“If the aim is to save lives and build an inclusive economic recovery, the question shouldn’t be who gets the biggest batch of the supply, but how to produce enough of the vaccines in the shortest amount of time to make sure everyone on this planet can get it.
“That’s why all COVID-19 vaccines must be people’s vaccines: patent-free, mass produced, distributed fairly, and made available free of charge, to every individual, rich and poor alike.
“A people’s vaccine—which can unlock the production of billions more doses--is the only way we can ensure that we have the ability to produce the greatest protection in the shortest amount of time and ensure access for everyone. The pandemic knows no boundaries—if we accept artificial constraints on vaccine supply and fail to treat as many people as possible in as many places as possible, we will prolong the timeline to reopen schools and businesses at the expense of public health and the economy.
“America has a momentous opportunity over the coming months to pull ourselves and people around the world out of this pandemic. That’s why more than 100 high-level leaders from public health, faith-based, racial justice, and labor organizations, joined former members of Congress, Nobel laureate economists and artists to sign a public letter calling on President-elect Biden to make the COVID-19 vaccine a People’s Vaccine: a global public good, freely and fairly available to all, prioritizing those most in need here at home and around the world.”
Notes to editors:
The public letter is available here. Signers include philanthropists Abigail Disney and Chelsea Clinton, actors Alyssa Milano, Aisha Tyler, Maz Jobrani, and Forest Whitaker, professors Joseph Stiglitz and Noam Chomsky, and activist Ady Barkan. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and former members of Congress Lynn Woolsey, Mary Jo Kilroy, Claudine Schneider, and Sander Levin, as well as Oxfam America president and CEO Abby Oxfam, also signed.
Additional analysis is available in Oxfam’s “A Shot at Recovery” that looks at the commitments made by the leading COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers -- AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, Merck and Co., and Pfizer -- on key areas of vaccine access and equity.
Oxfam is part of The Peoples’ Vaccine campaign, which is calling for Pfizer, Moderna and all vaccine developers to openly share their intellectual property, technology and knowhow to enable the mass production of successful vaccines all over the world. The call for a People’s Vaccine is backed by past and present world leaders, health experts, faith leaders and economists. For more information visit: https://peoplesvaccine.org