WASHINGTON, D.C – Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced plans to create a technology transfer hub in South Africa to facilitate mRNA vaccine production for Africa. Public Citizen recently issued a report describing how to retrofit vaccine production facilities on every continent and transfer technology to produce enough mRNA vaccine for the world in one year. Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, issued the following statement:
“WHO is forging a path to a world more resilient to pandemics and better able to make vaccines for all.
“Africa, Asia and Latin America have been left especially vulnerable to COVID-19, due to wealthy countries purchasing the available scarce supplies, and corporations holding secret the vaccine know-how that the world needs to expand production. WHO’s regional vaccine production hubs could mitigate these travesties, which have contributed to suffering and death.
“It is possible to make enough mRNA vaccine for the world within a year. President Biden and other leaders should offer funding, technical capacity and political support to share vaccine recipes and accelerate WHO’s plans to make a difference not only against future pandemics, but also against COVID-19 today.
“Vaccine production should be urgent and sustainable, decentralized and democratic. The fruits of research and manufacturing should be shared openly with humanity. National leaders should share technology, including via WHO’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, and support a temporary waiver of intellectual property rules at the World Trade Organization to facilitate these goals.”