Statement: Biden’s Global COVID-19 Summit Must Be More Than Just PR

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The White House today is expected to propose an international summit on pandemic response and vaccination for the week of Sept. 20, coinciding with the U.N. General Assembly. Meanwhile, the global vaccine access initiative Covax announced a 25% shortfall in its projected dose deliveries for 2021, from 1.9 billion to 1.4 billion. Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, issued the following statement:

“Covax’s shortfall is President Joe Biden’s responsibility, as it is the responsibility of leaders with means to fund the pandemic fight, share the knowledge to make vaccines and deliver doses. It will cost many people their lives.

“It is critically important that a global COVID-19 summit be more than just PR. Biden has an opportunity to help launch an urgent global vaccine manufacturing, delivery and knowledge sharing program that can fight variants and end the pandemic. Millions of people have died waiting for such desperately needed action.

“To do this, the U.S. government and countries worldwide should:

  • Invest $25 billion to make eight billion mRNA doses within one year and fully fund delivery;
  • Share knowledge and vaccine recipes to quickly bring regional production hubs online;
  • Waive intellectual property rules and call on Moderna and Pfizer to share vaccine recipes; and
  • Immediately reallocate excess doses to COVAX.

“The president has said that the U.S. will serve as a vaccine arsenal for the world. Ten thousand people die each day waiting for ambitious action to match this vision.”