The Biden Global COVID Vaccine Plan Is A Step In the Right Direction But Shouldn’t Be Given to Big Pharma
The New York Times reports that at the urging of activists, the White House plans to invest billions of dollars to increase COVID-19 vaccine supply to poor nations by producing at least one billion doses a year. Since March, PrEP4All has advocated for the U.S. government to dramatically scale vaccine manufacturing in order to vaccinate the world, which was also endorsed by the NYT editorial board. This is a clear signal that our advocacy is pushing the Biden Administration in the right direction.
Alone, however, this is not enough. To increase global COVID-19 vaccine access, the U.S. government must build its own vaccine production facility and hire a contract manufacturer to run it, as opposed to completely depending on the private sector.
“Handing billions of dollars over to pharmaceutical companies is not going to get us out of this pandemic,” said James Krellenstein, Co-Founder of PrEP4All. “The only way to leverage the unique skills of the private sector while protecting taxpayer investment is through a government owned, contractor operated model.”
Over $10 billion in public funds have already been invested in the Moderna vaccine, and it should be used to protect public health. mRNA vaccines are not only highly effective, but also are more easily scaled up and adapted to address emerging variants. The fewer people vaccinated globally, the more likely vaccine-resistant variants will emerge.
It’s impossible to ignore that the Biden Administration has sat on its hands for the past 8 months, and this commitment for one billion doses does not address the current 4 billion gap in doses. Not only do we need to scale up the number of doses the Biden Administration has committed to, but the Administration must also compel companies like Pfizer and Moderna to share their technology with manufacturers abroad so low-income countries can produce doses themselves.
The U.S. government must drastically scale up mRNA manufacturing to ensure prompt vaccine access worldwide. With public manufacturing facilities, the U.S. can increase capacity to vaccinate the entire world for less than we spend on COVID-19 response daily.