WASHINGTON, D.C. – Section 31022 of Build Back Better, on pandemic preparedness, includes $1.3 billion for “Public Health and Preparedness Research, Development and Countermeasure Capacity,” including specifically “to support expanded global and domestic vaccine production capacity and capabilities, including by developing or acquiring new technology and expanding manufacturing capacity through construction, expansion or modernization of facilities.” Public Citizen long has called for a $25 billion investment to make enough mRNA vaccine for the world in less than one year. Peter Maybarduk, Public Citizen’s access to medicines director, issued the following statement:
“This modest investment will make an outsized difference in the global fight against COVID-19, virus variants and future threats. It is a critically important contribution, if still far too little, to building the world back better.
“Developing country manufacturers can make the world’s most effective vaccines, with support and access to technology. This funding can help retrofit facilities in low-and middle-income countries with advanced, adaptable vaccine production capabilities.
“For one example, it could support the World Health Organization and African vaccine manufacturers’ effort to build the world’s first mRNA technology transfer hub in South Africa, which would be open to manufacturers worldwide and share know-how with humanity.
“We thank and congratulate U.S. Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.), U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and the Congressional Global Vaccination Caucus for their leadership, ensuring support for vaccine manufacturing in Build Back Better. Congress should retain and indeed significantly increase this funding as the Build Back Better Act advances.”