In response to encouraging interim results released today by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in conjunction with Moderna about the effectiveness of their COVID-19 vaccine, Niko Lusiani, Senior Advisor with Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“Today’s announcement is another ray of hope that scientists will be able to deliver an end to 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.
“As a product that was funded largely by US taxpayers, Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine should therefore be a global public good: a people’s vaccine.
“For our best shot at saving the greatest number of lives and resetting our global economy, a COVID-19 vaccine should be patent-free, mass produced, distributed fairly, and made available free of charge, to every individual, rich and poor alike.
“While we were encouraged by Moderna’s earlier pledge not to enforce intellectual property rights on its vaccine technology during the pandemic, the company has not yet made 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.
“Moderna, and the other leading vaccine manufacturers, must designate their patents and other technologies to the World Health Organization to allow for full and open manufacturing. This is the only way we can ensure that we have the ability to produce the greatest number of doses in the shortest amount of time and ensure access for everyone.
“On its own, 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.
“A global pandemic requires a global solution: a people’s vaccine that prioritizes public health over private profits. No one should have access to a life-saving vaccine only if they live in the right country or have enough money.”
Notes to editors:
Additional information 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