In response to the announcement that Pfizer and BioNTech will sell up to 40 million doses to the COVAX Facility, Niko Lusiani, Senior Advisor with Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“We have encouraged Pfizer for months to expand global access to its COVID-19 vaccine, and this first step heads in the right direction. Yet, it is woefully insufficient and will be barely leave a dent in our goal of ending this pandemic.
“Forty million doses will indeed be life-saving for the 20 million people who will receive protection. But Pfizer’s deal with COVAX would supply less than one half of one percent of the five billion people living in low- and middle- income countries, including millions of healthcare and social workers who are unprotected on the front lines of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the US, with only 4% of the world’s population, has already called dibs on over 50% of the Pfizer’s total expected supply in 2021.
“It is great that COVAX may be able to access these vaccine doses, but a lot will depend on whether corporations agree to a low price and donors give them enough money to pay for it. Lack of transparency continues to leave too much room for doubt.
“While rich country governments are sitting at the table divvying up the vaccine pie, poorer countries are receiving crumbs. This is a moral, medical, and economic travesty. In a global pandemic of this magnitude, we must pursue a new path—a people’s vaccine that prioritizes public health over private profits.
“No corporation can produce the total amount of vaccines needed to cover our global need. We need a people’s vaccine, not a profit vaccine.
“No one should be denied access to a life-saving vaccine just because of the country they live in, or the money in their pocket. Governments and corporations must work together to make all COVID-19 treatments and vaccines global public goods. That means corporations must share their technology to boost low-cost production so that everyone, everywhere has access to the vaccine.”