Oxfam Reaction to Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Submission for FDA Approval

By Oxfam

In response to Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)’s submission of their COVID-19 vaccine for emergency approval from the US Food & Drug Administration, Niko Lusiani, Senior Advisor with Oxfam America, made the following statement:

“Scientists have yet again delivered hope in the war against the coronavirus. As a single-dose and lower-cost vaccine, the JNJ vaccine could deliver the necessary boost the world needs to save lives and rebuild our economy.

“Now it’s time for executives and policy makers to deliver a people’s vaccine that is mass produced around the world to ensure access to the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time. JNJ can only produce the vaccine for less than 13 percent of the global population by the end of the year.

“Americans agree that corporations should not hold monopoly over the vaccines which could save lives. We must not allow monopolies to dictate who gets the vaccine and who doesn’t.

“More than 100 million people have already been vaccinated, but only 4 percent of total vaccinations have been in developing countries. Rich countries, including the US, have bought up enough doses to vaccinate their populations three times over, leaving developing countries to compete for the leftovers. In fact, even as this new vaccine is approved, only one in ten people will be vaccinated by the end of the year in many developing countries.

“From development to production to procurement, JNJ’s vaccine was funded largely by the public, so it must be a public good. JNJ’s commitments to more equitable distribution and a non-profit single pandemic price are encouraging steps forward. Next up, the corporation can stake out a position of global leadership in the struggle against COVID by committing to keep its vaccine price at-cost after the pandemic, and sharing its vaccine knowledge, technology, intellectual property, data and know-how to boost supply, reduce price and enhance equity.

“President Biden has a special opportunity to replace the narrow vaccine nationalism of the recent past with the global vaccine solidarity of the future. That’s why more than 100 high-level leaders from public health, faith-based, racial justice, and labor organizations, joined former members of Congress, economists and artists in a public letter calling on President Biden to make every 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.”

/ENDS

Notes to editors:

The public letter to President Biden 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 Dani Rodrik; and activist Ady Barkan. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich and former members of Congress Lynn Woolsey, Mary Jo Kilroy, Claudine Schneider, and Sander Levin also signed.

A national poll, conducted this month by Data for Progress on behalf of Oxfam, shows that 90 percent of likely US voters want the vaccine to go to those in high risk groups first, regardless of wealth or nationality, or those prepared to pay for it. Not only that, but 85 percent of voters polled strongly support a free coronavirus vaccine. The poll shows that voters oppose drug company monopolies charging whatever price they choose and believe the government should ensure the vaccine is free for all those who want it.

Oxfam is part of the Peoples’ Vaccine Alliance, which is calling for all COVID-19 vaccine developers to openly share their intellectual property, technology and know-how 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

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