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To Ensure Vaccine Access, Gavi Must Hold Corporations Accountable

Statement of Peter Maybarduk, Director, Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines Program

Note: Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance is expected to launch Thursday a COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility. Through the facility, countries will provide financial incentives to pharmaceutical corporations in exchange for future vaccine access, on terms the facility will negotiate. The facility was developed through a process led by consulting firm McKinsey & Company with stakeholders including the World Bank, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and World Health Organization, among others.

We salute Gavi’s commitment to vaccine access, but we can and must do better. Gavi’s plan includes few conditions to ensure to affordability and even fewer conditions on the drug giants that benefit from hundreds of millions of dollars each in public subsidies.

Governments around the world long have invested in coronavirus research while Big Pharma stood by. Imposing conditions on further billions matters not only for justice – it matters for helping humanity through the pandemic without suffering a global vaccine apartheid.

We need a comprehensive plan to free vaccine technologies from corporate secrecy and exclusivity; to share technology and know-how so that the low- and middle-income countries that have capacity can help scale up manufacturing, protect their people and make their own fate.

We support funding the fight and all efforts to ensure timely universal access to a vaccine. But it is a mistake to trust Big Pharma.