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Selected Quotes Supporting COVID Vaccine Production Scale-Up

Last update: August 2, 2021 

Joe Biden, President of the United States of America

“The United States will be the world’s arsenal of vaccines in our shared fight against this virus. In the days to come, as we draw on the experience of distributing the vaccine doses announced today, we will have more details to provide about how future doses will be shared. And we will continue to do all we can to build a world that is safer and more secure against the threat of infectious disease.”

“And I think we’ll be in a position to be able to share vaccines, as well as know-how, with other countries who are in real need. That’s the hope and expectation.”

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 Gayle Smith, Head of Global Covid-19 Response at the U.S. State Department

Gayle Smith, head of global Covid-19 response at the US state department, told the Financial Times she wanted US vaccine makers — which include Moderna, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson — to share technological expertise with international rivals that can make the vaccines at a lower price point.

“We need to increase the capacity of regions to produce more of the vaccines than they consume. Then they can start exporting to countries around them.”  


“All companies want to hold on to their innovation. It is our hope that, particularly in the realm of public health, [they] will see the wisdom of making sure that there is greater accessibility and affordability.”

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 David Marchick, Chief Operating Officer at U.S. International Development Finance Corporation

“We want regional distribution and diversification, and we want to do deals with countries of varying sizes. We would like to do more in Africa and South America in particular.”

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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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Dr. John Nkengasong – Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC)

“Vaccine manufacturing requires that you do research and development as well as production. Africa has not done that and needs to invest in that in a very deliberate way, with its own resources and commitment. However, not every country needs to do this – you can have hubs on the continent, which is what we are promoting within the Africa CDC and the African Union. 

In April this year, we held a virtual summit which brought together over 40,000 people with four heads of state in attendance. We discussed a roadmap for African vaccine manufacturing; it was agreed that between now and 2040 we need to shift the paradigm so that we can begin to manufacture at least 60 percent of our vaccines. If we do not do that then we fail ourselves.


Twenty years from now, I would like to see us manufacturing 60 percent of our vaccines. I think that is achievable, but we have to take a position that we are not willing to retreat from.  

We have to graduate from this notion of dependency for our health security. In 1996, I was a young public health expert in in Cte d’Ivoire, and we were very excited because antiretroviral drugs against HIV were now available. But, because the cost was $10,000 per patient per year, it would take us ten years before we started having access to these drugs and mortality started decreasing, and during that time, about 10 to 12 million Africans died. Why? Because we are not manufacturing. If that doesn’t keep you awake at night, then I don’t know what else will keep you awake at night as an African leader. 


Now, we are dealing with Covid-19, where as a continent, we have around 1.5 percent of the population vaccinated with two doses. I think that Africa has no choice than to be very deliberate and engage in three areas of manufacturing: vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics. 

Estimates suggest that Africa’s existing vaccine market is worth $1.3 billion, and that is expected to grow to about $2.4 billion by 2030. So there is an enormous market for vaccines. Our two biggest challenges are financing and human capital.” 

“We have to approach this question from the perspective of, “How do we build back better, bolder, and bigger in Africa?” It’s not enough for us to come out of this crisis in the same way we entered it. Africa imports 99 percent of its vaccines, and we know vaccines are a huge security asset and a huge development asset. We also went into this crisis as a continent not being able to produce diagnostics on the continent. So to answer your question, we need to do three things: (1) reverse the importation of 99 percent of vaccines by ensuring and incentivizing continental manufacturing; (2) have the ability to do finish-and-fill and repurpose current vaccine producers, like the Pasteur Institute in Senegal and others in South Africa, to begin to produce COVID-19 vaccines; and (3) invest in a long-term strategy using domestic financing and other funding to ensure adequate research on the continent that will allow us to produce future vaccines. Africa produces a lot of animal vaccines, which tells me there is potential. But we require partnerships with friends of Africa: governments, foundations, and industry to transfer the technology and capacity.”

  • Dr. Nkengasong before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights at the hearing: “Update on COVID-19 in Africa“, March 17th, 2021 – https://youtu.be/xqw_89_xGb8

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

“For a proper global vaccine strategy, we really need Moderna or Pfizer to play. Moderna is a better candidate, because the US taxpayer has bought and paid for that technology.”

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.

“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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Bruce Aylward, Senior Advisor to the WHO Director-General

“The biggest problem these countries face – I have to say I get a little bit frustrated with the big focus on delivery challenge countries will have – is because we have a supply challenge. We will have through COVAX this month 0 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine, 0 doses of ASII vaccine, 0 doses of J&J vaccine, and I’m worried about supply…the first thing we need is a supply of vaccine. A predictable, sustainable supply of vaccine. The second thing we need then is in-country financing. We need the multilateral development banks, the friends of these countries, the donor community to really come together to put the financing in place to help with the in-country delivery because they need a lot of money to be able to do this, just like in industrialized countries. And they need that money to hire the additional workforce – we’re going to need a huge surge workforce to help deal with all the different issues. So yes, there’s challenges, but let’s deal with the right challenges in the right order and make sure that people have the vaccine so they can overcome barriers just like every other country has. […]

I want to make sure that we do not penalize countries with weak systems. Because I keep hearing it again and again, “they’re not going to be able to deliver these products,”. Just look at how well so many countries, very low-income, weak-system countries have been able to pivot and use all of the product that we give them. For every story about a country that has had some product expire, or some countries had to ship the vaccine somewhere else, there’s dozens that are putting it to very, very good use, dose by dose. We have to tackle the problems in the right order.

We have to be ready for delivery, and I’m sorry to go on about this, but you can’t deliver what you don’t have, and the situation right now is dire.”

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Sen. Cory Booker, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Robert Weissman, president, Public Citizen

“The U.S. government, under the leadership of President Biden, has authority under existing law to do things that will dramatically ramp up global vaccine access.

The United States and other capable countries can invest heavily in scaled-up vaccine manufacturing facilities so that we can produce as many vaccines as possible. No matter how well-intentioned they may be, no one company has enough manufacturing capacity on its own and individual licensing deals won’t get us to scale fast enough. We need all hands on deck, working as quickly as possible to produce as many safe, effective vaccines as we can.

President Biden also can work with vaccine intellectual property holders and manufacturers to share information about how to make safe, efficacious vaccines with all qualified manufacturers here in the U.S. and throughout the world. Furthermore, there are existing structures and pathways such as the Defense Production Act that would allow the government to assist in the production and distribution of these newly approved vaccines.

These actions will not only ensure that all Americans are vaccinated more quickly — but by boosting global vaccine access and getting COVID-19 under control everywhere, we will help to ensure that those vaccines remain effective by preventing further mutations of the virus that are caused by COVID-19 spreading unchecked. As Dr. Anthony Fauci noted, “viruses cannot mutate if they don’t replicate.”


It is in Americans’ best interest to eradicate COVID-19 everywhere it appears. By sharing the information and know-how to develop the vaccine, and boosting our own manufacturing and production efforts, we can ensure every American has access to COVID-19 vaccines, diminish the risk from new variants, and prevent needless death and suffering around the world.”

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Rep. Karen Bass, Chair, House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, and Global Human Rights 

“The US has committed $4 billion to the COVAX facility, but we know there’s an inadequate vaccine supply. During a press briefing last week, when asked if Africa can and should enhance its capacity to locally produce COVID-19 vaccines, you responded emphatically. In what ways do you think the US can support the AU in expanding local production capacity in Africa and facilitating the technology transfer needed to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines?”

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Luis Almagro, director general, Organization of American States

“No country is safe until every country is safe. Therefore, I join the call for a massive scaling-up of vaccine production and for more affordable pricing to allow developing countries to secure vaccines and inoculate their people.

I also call on all States to facilitate the export, equal access, and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, in accordance with international human rights obligations and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

The global pandemic requires a global response based on unity, solidarity, and multilateral cooperation, to ensure that all States have access to vaccines. The Americas, too, need a hemispheric response.

In this regard, I commit the OAS General Secretariat to work with our member states, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and international partners to formulate and implement solutions in the shortest possible time.”

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Dr. Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer, Partners In Health

“Charity itself is really not scalable,” said Dr. Joia Mukherjee, the chief medical officer at Partners In Health. “We really think that the technology and the know-how need to be transferred and scaled immediately to the giant factories that can produce the vaccine.” And time, she noted, is of the essence. “This has to happen now. Not six months from now, not a year from now.”

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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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The New York Times Editorial Board

The nonprofit advocacy group Public Citizen estimates that a $25 billion governmentwide initiative would produce around eight billion doses of mRNA vaccine, or enough to vaccinate half the planet. That’s far less than the trillions that could be lost if the economy contracts further as the pandemic persists.


Efforts to dramatically increase domestic production should be paired with efforts to do the same elsewhere. If new variants require different boosters and localized outbreaks require rapid response, it will be far easier to manage those eventualities with regionally concentrated supplies. That kind of distributed capacity will also leave the world much better prepared for future pandemics.

Low- and middle-income countries have been clamoring for the chance to manufacture their own doses – many of them have infrastructure that could be repurposes, and expertise making other complicated pharmaceuticals that could be built upon. If wealthier nations are concerned about those countries’ ability to manage this challenge safely or quickly, they should step in to help.

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Boston Globe Editorial Board

In order to successfully scale production globally, the Biden administration should negotiate deals with companies to transfer their knowledge and technology to other manufacturers. This could come in the form of royalties on vaccines sold in developing countries. While that might not yield as much in profits, these companies have already made billions of dollars in the pandemic.

Ultimately, if vaccine producers are unwilling to open up their technology and know-how to other manufacturers, the federal government could invoke Section 1498 of Title 28 of the US Code, which grants the US government compulsory licensing powers. It may never have to come to that, though, since just the threat of invoking that law will likely get companies to compromise.

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LA Times Editorial Board

“The U.S. can go further by using its clout and resources to jump-start production in developing nations and to pressure vaccine makers and research institutions to share their technology. Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy organization, estimates that if the U.S. uses all its legal authority to spur vaccine production, it could help produce billions more doses, save countless lives and end the pandemic years earlier.

The estimated cost of such an operation would be about $25 billion. It’s a lot of money, but not unreasonable considering the immediate payout in human lives (not to mention the immeasurable international goodwill that would come with it — that’s why China and Russia have been aggressively exporting the vaccines they developed). It also can pay future dividends by creating the global infrastructure to fight the next pandemic. The U.S. has already invested more than $12 billion for the development of the COVID vaccines through Operation Warp Speed, not including the federally funded research upon which some of the vaccines are based. It was money well spent. By comparison, the war in Afghanistan cost U.S. taxpayers $2 trillion, and it’s hard to see how it made the U.S. much safer.

Ideally, such an operation would be a joint effort by the world’s wealthy nations, who would likewise benefit from a inoculated global population. But Biden shouldn’t wait on getting other world leaders to sign on. There’s too much at stake.”

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Helene Gayle, President and CEO of the Chicago Community Trust, formerly with CARE, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; Gordon LaForge, Senior Researcher at Princeton University and lecturer at Arizona State University’s Thunderbird School of Global Management; and Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America and former Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State

“Just imagine, however, what could happen if Washington were to treat COVID-19 as the equivalent of the enemy in a world war or the pandemic as a global version of the regional AIDS and Ebola epidemics of years past. Imagine, in other words, what all-out mobilization would look like if the United States treated the COVID-19 pandemic like the global threat that it is.

Washington would lead a multilateral, whole-of-society effort to help COVAX vaccinate the world. The government would activate the military and call upon allies in the G-7 and NATO for a major assistance operation that speeds the flow of vaccine supplies and strengthens delivery systems. As it has pledged to do in the Quad summit deal, the U.S. government would use the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other civilian agencies and development programs to help countries with their national vaccination programs. And it would enlist companies, nonprofits, and civil society organizations to help increase vaccine production, raise funding, and provide technical assistance to foreign counterparts.

The U.S. government should undertake exactly such an effort, right now: an all-out response for an all-in global vaccination campaign. Such a campaign would advance U.S. economic and security interests and reboot American global leadership after years of decline. Rather than perpetuate the transactional, friend-by-friend vaccine diplomacy of China and Russia, a U.S.-led vaccine effort could invigorate a new multilateralism that is more pragmatic and inclusive than the twentieth-century international order and better adapted to tackling twenty-first-century global threats. China and Russia have already made deals for local manufacturers to produce their vaccines. Companies in Argentina, Brazil, and Italy all plan to begin producing the Sputnik V vaccine.


As Samantha Power, former ambassador to the United Nations, has argued in these pages, that presence could be directed toward helping countries manage logistics and supply chains, initiate public information campaigns, train local health-care workers, and increase vaccine access for marginalized and isolated communities.

In the same spirit, the United States should work with countries to help develop and increase local vaccine-manufacturing capacity. Several Latin American countries turned to China and Russia for vaccines because they could not meet the strict terms or pay the high prices that Western drug companies demanded. Just as the Biden administration brokered a deal between Johnson & Johnson and Merck—two fierce industry competitors—to increase production of the one-shot vaccine, so should it push U.S. companies to establish production arrangements with foreign manufacturers.


A serious global campaign to vaccinate everyone as soon as possible would mark the beginning of a very different era of American leadership.”

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Strive Masiyiwa, African Union Special Envoy to the African Vaccine Acquisition Task Team (AVATT); Founder and Executive Chairman, Econet Group

“We want to make clear to all suppliers…if you want a long-term future with us now, you produce from Africa.”

“Part of the problem that we have is that vaccines, the way vaccines are purchased by organizations like GAVI, has led to a situation where Africa does not produce anything. Let us create. The only way we solve this is to allow Africa to produce. It hasn’t been allowed to produce vaccines. When I set out to address the issue that we were confronted, the only vaccines we’ve been able to access is when I went to heads of state and said, “Listen, we’re not going to get access to vaccines unless we find a way to have them produced here.”

There was one African company capable of producing vaccines that had been ignored for years. They are now producing vaccines for Johnson & Johnson and we signed an agreement with Johnson & Johnson to have 400 million doses produced at our factory. They have started production. We start receiving the vaccines in August, demonstrating that it was always about nationalism. Why wasn’t that kind of capacity developed in the past? It was there.  


We ask the United States to step up, as they have done in times past. The American people, I appeal to your compassion. This is not expensive. It will be expensive to the whole world if we do not deal with this. 


500 million doses [of Pfizer from U.S. donations], assuming that we get as Africa 50%, that’s going to be less than 100 million people. We have a population from 1.3 billion. We are not going to solve the problem with 500 million doses of Pfizer. It’s going to take a lot more than that. It’s not so much about them, it’s about the capacity. As my dear colleague said, we’ve got to vaccinate people. We need machinery for that. We need to support clinics, rollout, training of people to get it done. It isn’t going to be done by delivering Pfizer vaccines to our airports. It’s a very difficult vaccine even to deal with, the Pfizer vaccine, so we need to step this up.”

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Dr. Gregg Gonsalves, Associate Professor of Epidemiology at Yale School of Public Health and Global Health Activist

“First is that we need massive scale-up of mRNA vaccines, as the new campaign suggests. We can do that in a couple of different ways, and we need to do them both at the same time. One is to invest in vaccine hubs around the world, like the one in South Africa that the World Health Organization announced a few weeks ago. That’s going to require an investment not just of money, but of time, people, effort, technology transfer for the recipes and all the other sort of technical know-how that’s involved in manufacturing these mRNA vaccines. But we can also produce at home, under the Defense Production Act, and set up a factory here or nearby in Canada, for instance, or in our partner nations in the EU, to scale up closer to home, where companies like Moderna have partners like Lonza, which is in New Hampshire…


There’s been sort of a line from the company executives that “We’re working as fast as we can, and you’ll have all you need in a year or so.” In a year or so with Delta means there’s going to be millions more infected, millions more dead around the world.”

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