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Reaction to US vaccine manufacturing investment

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In reaction to the announcement that the US government is investing billions of dollars to expand vaccine manufacturing capacity with the goal of producing at least one billion doses a year beginning in the second half of 2022, Robbie Silverman, Oxfam America’s Senior Advocacy Manager, made the following statement:

“The US is rightly investing in manufacturing, as we need to dramatically increase the production of vaccines to ensure everyone, everywhere has access. But in order to gain the upper hand on this and future pandemics, manufacturing should be spread around the world, especially Africa, not limited to the US. We know the coronavirus does not respect national borders; to truly protect everyone’s interests, we need a global solution.

“And once vaccine manufacturing capacity is built, what vaccines will be made? Pharmaceutical companies are continuing to protect their monopolies – and profits -- with iron fists, despite the mounting global death toll. The World Health Organization (WHO) has already said that without technology sharing, it will take twice as long to start manufacturing doses. We cannot afford to wait—any delay means that thousands more people will die, and the virus will continue to mutate.

“Increasing manufacturing capacity won’t get far without robust tech transfer. We urgently need the vaccine technology to be shared, including with the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP) and the mRNA hub in South Africa. That’s why we’re calling on President Biden to rally leaders in support of the proposal by South Africa and India at the World Trade Organization (WTO) for a temporary waiver on all COVID-19 medical technologies. A successful comprehensive waiver must be agreed on ahead of the WTO ministerial at the end of this month.”

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