WASHINGTON, D.C. – According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention figures, today the U.S. is expected to pass 400 million administered doses of COVID-19 vaccines. Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen, issued the following statement:
“The U.S. today will pass 400 million COVID-19 vaccine doses administered.
“Put simply: Africa has four times the population of the U.S. but has administered about one-third the number of COVID vaccine doses.
“Only nine African countries out of 54 have been able to vaccinate at least 10% of their population.
“This unconscionable vaccine apartheid is not just leaving billions of people in African and other developing countries vulnerable to preventable disease, suffering and death, it is dramatically increasing global poverty rates – as well as the death, disease and hunger that accompanies severe poverty.
“It is even leaving the rich countries themselves vulnerable to new strains, meaning more death and disease and more economic dislocation. The Delta variant is proving the point right now.
“None of this is necessary. Not only are the U.S. and other rich countries hoarding vaccines that they don’t need and can’t use, rich country leaders have failed to expand vaccine supplies. Instead of using existing legal authority to force the vaccine manufacturers to share their technology and investing very modest amounts to expand global COVID vaccine supply and distribution, they are permitting a handful of drug company giants to maintain monopoly control over the technology to make more vaccines.
“This is utterly shameful. Advocates and intergovernmental leaders identified the need for technology sharing and manufacturing scale up before a single vaccine was authorized for use. Rich country leaders had plenty of notice to prevent this exact situation from occurring.
“Still, past failures are no reason to continue failing.
“Global leaders should commit immediately to sharing vaccine manufacturing technology with the whole world; investing in manufacturing facilities to make more vaccine doses and ensure the entire world is vaccinated within a year; and remove patent and other intellectual property barriers to using inventions for COVID vaccination and treatment.”