WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Public Citizen delivered a letter to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden asking her to bring an ambitious plan to vaccinate the world with her if she attends the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Media reports have indicated that she is considering leading the U.S. delegation to the Games, which were postponed for the first time in modern Olympics history due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“The Olympic Games, a symbol of global unity, respect, and friendship, demand a commitment from the Biden administration to ensure global vaccine access and end the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter said.
“After being postponed for the first time in modern Olympic history, the Tokyo 2020 Games are proceeding despite high opposition and low vaccination rates in Japan, where only 16% of people are fully vaccinated. Already, Ugandan and Serbian team members tested positive upon arrival in Japan.”
“On Thursday, the Japanese government declared a state of emergency and barred spectators from Olympic events in Tokyo due to a dramatic spike in cases. This surge in cases testifies to the urgent need for a U.S.-led plan to vaccinate the world; it demonstrates that vaccine inequality encourages COVID to spread and poses grave danger to all of us, especially the most vulnerable.”
“We appreciate that as an educator, you may be particularly sensitive to the impact of this artificially protracted pandemic on young people, especially young girls,” the letter continued.
Public Citizen is calling on the Biden administration to create an ambitious global vaccine manufacturing program and build vaccine production infrastructure to end the pandemic. A $25 billion investment in mRNA vaccine manufacturing around the world can produce 8 billion doses of mRNA vaccines in the next 12 months, enough to vaccinate 80% of people in low-and-middle-income countries.
Public Citizen is also calling on the Biden administration to share technology, recipes, and know-how with the World Health Organization and make publicly available the recipe for the Moderna-NIH mRNA vaccine, which was funded and developed with taxpayer dollars.
The letter is available here.