Selected Quotes Supporting COVID Vaccine Production Scale-Up

Last update: March 2, 2021 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden since 2021 

“When the PEPFAR programme was started by the Unites States under George W Bush, it was clear that in order to get the drugs to the countries and the individuals in those countries, particularly in southern Africa, the Caribbean and other areas where it would be difficult for those countries and people within those countries to develop or even pay for those drugs themselves, there were things that were done with regard for example to other generic drugs, that were a lot of discussion as to whether or not that would have been able to have been done and would that interfere with the appropriate profit that companies that made major major investments in the development of those drugs and actually it worked out very well because through the PEPFAR & Global Fund project we were able to get life-saving drugs to millions and millions of people, saving now well up to 17 million lives, and it did not have a deleterious effect on the companies who continued to do well financially and continued to make investments in research. So, I’m not exactly sure what the model would be, but at least we do have a precedent that you can make arrangements with companies that would allow them both to maintain a considerable amount of profit at the same time that areas of the world that don’t have resources can share in a way that would be lifesaving for literally millions of people. 

“I believe that rich countries, ourselves included, have a moral responsibility when you have a global outbreak like this, similar to what we did with HIV and PEPFAR, to provide for the countries that don’t have the resources or the capability of vaccinating their population to help them with aid. Whether that be financial aid, to get vaccines to them or supplementing their own ability to produce vaccines in a way that they could have the productive capability to do that with cooperation from the pharmaceutical companies regarding relaxation of some of the patent situations. Bottom line, is that we’ve got to get the entire world vaccinated, not just our own country, otherwise every year there will be another threat as more mutants come by. 

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Dr. Tedros Adhanom GhebreyesusWHO Director-General 

The main vaccine producers are working to increase production, but they are nowhere near meeting demand. 

Governments and companies must come together to overcome this artificial scarcity. There are many steps that can be taken to ramp up vaccine production and broaden distribution. These include openly sharing vaccine manufacturing technology, intellectual property, and know-how through the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, temporarily waiving intellectual property barriers, and expanding voluntary contracting between manufacturers. 

Open-sourcing will enable immediate use of untapped production capacity, through such initiatives as the Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network, and help build additional manufacturing bases—especially in Africa, Asia, and Latin America—which will be essential to meeting ongoing demand for COVID-19 booster shots and future vaccines. Expanding production globally would make poor countries less dependent on donations from rich ones. This is essential to achieve true health equality and global health security. 

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António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations 

“Progress on vaccinations has been wildly uneven and unfair. Just 10 countries have administered 75 per cent of all COVID-19 vaccines.  Meanwhile, more than 130 countries have not received a single dose.” 

“The world urgently needs a Global Vaccination Plan to bring together all those with the required power, scientific expertise & production and financial capacities. I believe the G20 is well placed to establish an emergency taskforce to prepare such a global vaccination plan and coordinate its implementation and financing. This taskforce should include all countries in which there is a capacity to develop vaccines or to produce them if licenses are available, together with WHO GAVI other relevant technical organizations and international financial institutions. The taskforce should have the capacity to mobilise the pharmaceutical companies and key industries and logistic actors. I am ready to galvanize the full United Nations System in support of these efforts.”  

“Pandemic recovery is our chance. 

Four imperatives, in my opinion, stand out. 

First, a Global Vaccination Plan. 

Vaccines must be available and affordable for everyone, everywhere. 

Vaccine equity is crucial for saving lives and for saving economies.   

Countries need to share excess doses and provide the billions needed for the COVAX initiative to be in full swing.   

We also need at least a doubling of global manufacturing capacity, through sharing of licenses and technology transfer.  

I believe the G20 is well placed to establish an Emergency Task Force to prepare such a Global Vaccination Plan, bringing together the countries, the companies and the international organizations and the financial institutions with the required power, scientific expertise and production and financial capacities. 

I am ready to galvanize the full United Nations System in support of this effort, starting by the World Health Organization.” 

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Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, WTO Director General

“Permit me Ladies and Gentlemen to spend just a little time on COVID-19. We have a demand for a TRIPS waiver by a growing number of developing countries and the dialogue is intensifying. Whilst this is happening, I propose that we “walk and chew gum” by also focusing on the immediate needs of dozens of poor countries that have yet to vaccinate a single person. People are dying in poor countries. We just had our first COVAX shipment to Ghana last week and others will follow but it will not be enough. There is serious supply scarcity and some countries are out bidding COVAX and diverting supplies. The world has a normal capacity of production of 3.5billion doses of vaccines and we now seek to manufacture 10billion doses. This is just very difficult, so we must focus on working with companies to open up and license more viable manufacturing sites now in emerging markets and developing countries. We must get them to work with us on know how and technology transfer now. There will soon be a world manufacturing convention where we can seek to build this partnership. I also hope we can initiate a dialogue and information exchange between us and representatives of manufacturers associations from developing and developed countries. Excellencies, this should happen soon so we can save lives.”

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Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church and sovereign of the Vatican City State 

“At this moment in history, marked by the ecological crisis and grave economic and social imbalances only worsened by the coronavirus pandemic, it is all the more important for us to acknowledge one another as brothers and sisters,” 

“I beg everyone, heads of state, companies and international organizations to promote cooperation and not competition, to find a solution for everyone – vaccines for all – especially for the most vulnerable and needy in all areas of the planet,” 

“We can’t put ourselves before others, putting market forces and patent laws before the laws of love and the health of humanity,”  

 “We cannot let closed nationalisms block us from living like the true human family that we are.” 

“And neither can we allow the virus of radical individualism to triumph over us and make us indifferent to the suffering of other brothers and sisters,” 

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Dr. Mariangela Simao – WHO Assistant Director General for Access to Medicines, Vaccines and Pharmaceuticals 

“We cannot afford to take 10 years for our medicines or vaccines to reach developing countries this time, it took too long with HIV and too many people died unnecessarily. Since then, there are mechanisms in place, we have for example the Medicines Patent Pool, which already has 10 years of existence and it’s a proven method/platform to ensure that both voluntary licensing and technology transfer can help to increase access to medicines for HIV, TB and Malaria. Why not use the platforms that we, the WHO, have put in place like the C-TAP the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool. Intellectual property needs to be managed, either through voluntary licensing or other measures, but its not enough. Intellectual property is not the end point, the end point is increasing manufacturing capacity and making sure that quality-ensured efficacious and safe vaccines reach the developing countries. 

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Dr. Tom Frieden, Former CDC Director, Director & CEO of Resolve to Save Lives 

Finally, the world must increase its manufacturing capacity for diagnostics, treatments and vaccines. Pathogens spread, so we cannot leave millions without access to the top-quality diagnosis, treatment and vaccines we want for ourselves. The Rand Corp. has warned of the dangers of vaccine nationalism,” in which “countries push to get first access to a supply of vaccines, potentially hoarding key components for vaccine production.”  

Such short-sighted behavior is both ethically indefensible and politically inevitable…  Globally supported mRNA production facilities could help end the current pandemic and, potentially, produce lifesaving vaccines and medicines that would create a sustainable business model, with sales to public and private purchasers between pandemics. 

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Dr. Tom Frieden, Former CDC Director, Director & CEO of Resolve to Save Lives & Marine Buissonnière, independent advisor in global health and humanitarian action and senior advisor to the Prevent Epidemics team at Resolve to Save Lives

“The emergence of new variants that could evade vaccine protection risks a prolonged pandemic here as well as elsewhere, because uncontrolled spread anywhere in the world allows the virus more opportunity to mutate and more dangerous variants to emerge and spread. The only way to reduce the risk of vaccine-escape mutations here is to increase vaccination and control measures everywhere.

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Dr. Suhaib Siddiqi, former Director of Chemistry, Moderna

But Suhaib Siddiqi, former director of chemistry at Moderna, said with the blueprint and technical advice, a modern factory should be able to get vaccine production going in at most three to four months.

“In my opinion, the vaccine belongs to the public,” said Siddiqi. “Any company which has experience synthesizing molecules should be able to do it.”

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