WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Washington Post and New York Times reported today that the U.S. government will announce the purchase of 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to support global vaccination efforts, 300 million of which will not be available until sometime next year. The U.S. and European Union also will announce the forming of a joint vaccine manufacturing and supply chain task force, according to Politico. Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, issued the following statement:
“The world needs urgent new manufacturing to produce billions more doses within a year, not just commitments to buy the planned inadequate supply.
“We welcome this step from President Biden, as well as the proposed manufacturing partnership with Europe. However, we have yet to see a plan from the U.S. government or the G7 of the needed ambition or urgency to make billions more doses and end the pandemic.
“President Biden and other leaders underestimate their power to set terms with the vaccine makers and coordinate immediate production at massive scale. Billions of people awaiting a path out of the pandemic desperately need President Biden and other world leaders to find far greater ambition.”