WASHINGTON – Today, COVAX, a partnership led by the World Health Organization and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, announced its first allocation of several hundred million COVID-19 vaccine doses to developing countries. Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s Access to Medicines program, released the following statement:
“We are in the midst of a global vaccine apartheid. Billions of people in developing countries may wait years for access to a vaccine and a path out of the pandemic. In that time, millions will die needlessly and tens of millions will be pushed into poverty. The consequences will be felt in the daily lives of many, perhaps most people worldwide for a generation.
“COVAX’s announcement that doses are en route to developing countries is welcome news. It is important that the Biden administration follow through on its commitment to join COVAX and support the equitable allocation of available vaccines.
“However, the quantity of doses is terrifyingly inadequate. For example, the 35 million doses allocated to Latin America represent less than four percent of what experts estimate is needed to control the pandemic.
“The world needs a much more robust response, including from the Biden administration, to get the global pandemic under control.
“That means immediately mobilizing new production capabilities and sharing vaccine recipes with qualified manufacturers in the U.S. and around the world. If the Biden administration chooses to fight the global pandemic with all its power, we can overcome scarcity and rationing and ensure access for all.”