Sign-on Letter: Addressing the Global Vaccine Access Crisis
Dear President Biden,
We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to sound the alarm about the global vaccine access crisis and the need for the United States to share its excess COVID-19 vaccine doses with those countries in greatest need, in coordination with COVAX.
We first applaud the recent US commitment of $11.55 billion in international funding to fight COVID-19 globally, including $3.5 billion to the Global Fund towards The Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), this in addition to the $4 billion last year for the Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
Millions of doses are being rolled out in high-income countries with very few in low-income
countries, exacerbating the divide between rich and poor countries. It is estimated that there could be twice as many deaths from COVID-19 if rich countries monopolize the first doses of vaccines instead of making sure they are distributed globally. Vaccine hoarding could cost the global economy up to $9.2 trillion. Wealthy countries will bear half of those costs because of supply chain disruptions and demand shocks.
Currently, with the latest procurement of additional Johnson and Johnson vaccines, the US has secured enough doses to vaccinate 100% of the population including children and still have around 554 million doses left over. Most of these doses could be delivered in 2021. With 1/3 of the world’s countries still not having access to vaccines and new variants forming, it’s in our domestic and global interest to extinguish this pandemic everywhere to shorten the virus lifespan and prevent further mutations. As you noted at a press conference on March 10th, that America will not be safe until the world is safe and said: “If we have a surplus, we’re going to share it with the rest of the world.”
The secondary impacts of the pandemic on people’s lives and wellbeing have been far-reaching and devastating. It is estimated that over 150 million people could be pushed into extreme poverty by the end of 2021, potentially reversing two decades of progress in global poverty eradication. Amid this global crisis for communities around the world, the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines offers the potential for real hope.
Given the optimistic outlook for vaccinating most Americans in the next few months and the huge number of excess doses the US has in its pipeline, the US is uniquely positioned to accelerate the global response to the pandemic by sharing vaccines. Therefore, we call on the Administration to follow through on National Security Memorandum 1 and release “a framework for donating surplus vaccines, once there is sufficient supply in the United States, to countries in need, including through the COVAX Facility.” We also urge the Administration to take steps to expand manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines.
The Biden Administration should immediately commit to share 100% of our excess doses with the majority of doses shared multilaterally through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) by the time domestic demand is met in the U.S. To that end, the Administration should:
- Renegotiate any donation prohibition clauses in existing vaccine contracts,
- Discuss trade and liability considerations with Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and Moderna, noting the no-fault compensation scheme available through COVAX.
- Analyze vaccine delivery schedules for Q3-Q4, 2021 and put in place a process to quickly divert the deliveries of excess doses to COVAX.
- To the extent it can do so without compromising its needed vaccine supply, the US should facilitate the availability of needed raw materials and supplies for those companies manufacturing vaccines for COVAX.
- Strongly and visibly encourage companies to share expertise to enable expanded manufacturing capacity
- Support increased manufacturing capacity domestically and globally such as was announced with Japan, Australia, and India.
Finally, we urge that a majority of doses be shared multilaterally through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) facility to maximize equity.
We urge the Administration to make use of one of several global key moments in April and May 2021 to announce plans to share doses by the end of Q2 when domestic demand has been met.
Better World Campaign
The Borgen Project
Equal Access International
Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria
Helen Keller International
Helping Hand for Relief and Development
IMA World Health
International Medical Corps
International Rescue Committee
Management Sciences for Health
Pandemic Action Network
Plan International USA
Physicians for Peace
Save the Children
The Task Force for Global Health
United Nations Association of the USA