In response to Moderna’s expected submission for emergency approval of their COVID-19 vaccine, Niko Lusiani, Senior Advisor with Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“It’s such a relief that scientists are delivering hope in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, but scientific breakthrough is only part of the equation. Getting the vaccine to every single individual who needs it is equally important.
“While the amazing effectiveness of the vaccine candidates is encouraging, we must remember they will be zero percent effective for those who cannot access them. That’s why every COVID-19 vaccine must be a people’s vaccine: patent-free, mass produced, distributed fairly, and made available free of charge, to every individual, rich and poor alike.
“A people’s vaccine is the only way we can produce the greatest number of doses in the shortest amount of time and ensure access for everyone.
“More than 100 high-level leaders from public health, faith-based, racial justice, and labor organizations, joined former members of Congress, economists and artists to sign a public letter calling on President-elect 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.
“Moderna’s vaccine was funded largely by US taxpayers and should therefore be a public good. While Moderna’s pledge not to enforce intellectual property rights on its vaccine technology during the pandemic is a step forward, the company has yet to make a public commitment to sharing its COVID-19 vaccine knowledge, technology, intellectual property, data and know-how to boost supply, reduce price and enhance equity.”
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 also signed.
According to Oxfam’s analysis, Moderna can only produce the vaccine for less than 7 percent of the global population by the end of 2021, most of them in rich countries. The US has already agreed to a $1.5 billion deal for 100 million doses with an option to purchase up to an additional 400 million.
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