In response to media reports that President Biden will commit to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine to 100 countries over the next year, Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s vaccine lead, made the following statement:
“It’s encouraging to see that in its quest to get America vaccinated, the Biden administration has not lost sight of the needs of those outside our borders. However, charity is not going win the war against the coronavirus.
“Surely, these 500 million vaccine doses are welcome as they will help more than 250 million people, but that’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the need across the world.
“It’s time to let the world help itself. Rather than more lucrative transactions with very profitable pharmaceutical corporations, we need a transformation toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers worldwide can produce billions more low-cost doses on their own terms, without intellectual property constraints.
“Ahead of the G7 Summit, Oxfam called on President Biden to rally other G7 leaders around temporarily waiving restrictive intellectual property rules, mandating companies share their technology with the World Health Organization and investing in global, distributed manufacturing to ensure that everyone, everywhere will have access to a COVID vaccine
“At the current rate of vaccinations, it would take low income countries 57 years to reach the same level of protection as those in G7 countries. That’s not only morally wrong, it’s self-defeating given the risk posed by coronavirus mutations.”