Under White House’s New COVID-19 Plan, Much Global Pandemic Suffering Will ‘Continue Unabated’
Washington, D.C. — Today, the White House released a 96-page “National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan,” articulating measures the Biden-Harris Administration hopes to take to protect against and treat COVID-19, prepare for new variants, prevent economic and educational shutdowns, and “continue to lead the effort to vaccinate the world and save lives.”
In response, Peter Maybarduk, Access to Medicines Director for Public Citizen, released the following statement:
“Under the president’s plan, too much of the world’s pandemic suffering will continue unabated.
“The global COVID-19 response is in desperate need of resources to deliver shots, provide far more testing, and ensure treatments are available to those who need them most. Despite funding needs expressed by federal and global health agencies for Global VAX and other programs, the White House has yet to formally ask Congress for additional funding for the global pandemic response, and the $5 billion the White House reportedly plans to request falls far short of the $17 billion minimum needed to resource efforts to end the pandemic.
“Global need has been met with a lack of urgency from the White House, and a seemingly blasé approach towards mitigating risk of future variants emerging and providing humanitarian relief.
“In addition to fully resourcing vaccine delivery, the U.S. Government should be supporting global manufacturing, sharing technology, and ensuring that production of highly effective vaccines and treatments are not only the province of the world’s rich.
“The plan to boost mRNA manufacturing capacity in the United States is helpful toward ensuring supply of highly effective vaccines, but unless it is publicly owned and brings standards for technology licensing and commitments to access, the Administration risks repeating mistakes of the past. The United States does not need an unaccountable taxpayer subsidy to Pfizer that leaves us under-prepared to confront future pandemic threats.”