WASHINGTON, D.C – Public Citizen, Oxfam America, Health GAP, Partners In Health, PrEP4All and RESULTS are urging Congressional leaders to include $34 billion for global vaccine manufacturing and delivery in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package.
In a letter today to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the groups said, “already the world has lost too much time and there is no more time to waste.” The groups in a separate letter also called on President Joe Biden to launch a global vaccine manufacturing program for the world.
“The doses the U.S. has shared abroad amount to one one-hundredth of global need,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program. “But for one one-hundredth of the proposed budget, the U.S. could make and deliver billions of vaccine doses and end this horrific pandemic. The significant funding needed is paltry compared to the staggering cost of continued inaction, in lives and livelihoods.”
The groups’ letter also applauds a letter last week by 116 members of Congress who wrote to Biden requesting that the budget reconciliation bill provide up to $34 billion in funding to significantly accelerate the production of COVID-19 vaccines for global distribution. The lawmakers cited the bicameral NOVID Act, introduced by U.S. Reps. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) and Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), and U.S. Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), which details a $34 billion investment that Public Citizen estimates can make eight billion doses in one year.
The groups added the persistence of the uncontrolled pandemic is injuring the U.S. domestically and that we are now seeing firsthand the truism that the best line of defense for the U.S. is for the entire world to be vaccinated.
“The delta variant’s catastrophic spread across the U.S. is teaching us, in real-time, the danger of allowing this virus to continue to spread uncontrolled globally,” said James Krellenstein, co-founder of PrEP4All. “Ensuring that the world has enough vaccines, and the ability to safely and rapidly administer them, will not only save millions of lives across the globe but is also vital to protecting the national security as well.”
Read the letters to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer here.
Read the letter to President Joe Biden here.