Politics

Read the Letter to President Biden

Production Act8. Under this Act, you could mandate the sharing of production knowledge from U.S. based COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers including Pfizer and Moderna to entities such as the mRNA vaccine technology transfer hub hosted by the World Health Organization in South Africa. At the UNGA, you could also call on other world leaders hosting COVID-19 vaccine manufacturers to also compel the transfer of vaccine technology from manufacturers within their borders. 3. Urgently redistributing excess vaccines to low- and middle-income countries via COVAX or regional bodies, such as the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) While many high-income countries (HICs) hoard COVID-19 vaccines, many healthcare workers and vulnerable groups in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) have not yet received their first dose. Furthermore, many HICs are starting to announce booster programs to give certain sections of their populations a third shot of COVID-19 vaccines. In the face of global vaccine inequity and supply constraints, governments and pharmaceutical corporations should prioritize fully vaccinating healthcare workers globally and vulnerable people globally. Priority must be given to increasing global vaccination coverage with the full vaccination series. However, additional doses as part of the primary vaccination series may be needed for certain individuals such as the moderately-severely immunocompromised, who may not be adequately protected with the ‘standard’ series. Scientific consensus has yet to be reached regarding the widespread need for booster doses for the general population. The use of booster doses must be driven by strong scientific evidence and prioritized for people with the greatest need. Ultimately though, the most lives will be saved by providing vaccines to people who have not yet received any doses. When HICs have committed to redistributing doses, these commitments often come without concrete timelines. While promises to redistribute COVID-19 vaccines are welcome, vaccines are desperately needed in lower income countries now. People in developing countries cannot wait until the end of 2021 or mid-2022 for doses to arrive. World leaders must move beyond high-level statements. They must commit to clear delivery schedules and begin redistributing doses now. If excess COVID-19 vaccine doses are not urgently redistributed, millions of doses could be wasted as they lay idle in HIC storage and are unable to be used before their expiry date. This would be a tragedy given the urgent need in so many lower income countries. Dose redistribution (the transfer of COVID-19 vaccine doses from HICs to LIC and MICs) can take the form of a donation or a ‘reallocation’, whereby doses purchased by HICs are made available to other countries, COVAX and regional bodies to purchase. For dose redistribution to be effective, doses must be suitable, have sufficient remaining shelf-life, and be redistributed in a transparent and timely way. If doses are reallocated, as opposed to donated, they must be made available at the lowest possible price.

8 Rizvi Z, Ravinthiran J, Kapczynski A. Sharing The Knowledge: How President Joe Biden Can Use The Defense Production Act To End The Pandemic Worldwide. Health Affairs Blog. Accessed September 9, 2021. https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20210804.101816/full/

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