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Coronavirus Vaccine Must Not Be Exclusive to U.S.

Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen

Note: German government officials say that the Trump administration asked a German firm developing a coronavirus vaccine to relocate its research to the U.S., The New York Times reported Sunday. The German newspaper Die Welt am Sonntag reported that Trump offered $1 billion to obtain exclusive U.S. government access to the vaccine.

If true, it is appalling beyond words that the Trump administration is pushing for exclusive access to a coronavirus vaccine. That course of action would risk the health of millions of people worldwide.

When a vaccine is developed, it must be made immediately available to the world. Any and all qualified manufacturers across the globe should be permitted, encouraged and maybe even required to produce the vaccine and to accept reasonable payment from government, so that it can be made freely available to all.

The U.S. government should work to ensure vaccine production in the United States, but not at the expense of production anywhere else. The government should be looking right now to develop massive production capacity.

The coronavirus pandemic is a global crisis that requires global solutions. No country should be under the illusion that it can solve the problem for itself only, even if it is so heartless as to try and do so.

The world needs to come together, immediately, for a joint effort to develop and manufacture at scale a coronavirus vaccine, and to ensure that it is available, at no charge, to everyone on the planet. At this moment above all, we need to set aside outdated ideas about monopolies and exclusivities and focus on sharing knowledge and solidarity. We are, literally, all in this together.