MSF: US global COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan is not enough

US must commit to sharing more vaccine doses

Lebanon - COVID-19 Vaccination

Lebanon 2021 © Mohamad Cheblak/MSF

NEW YORK, JUNE 3, 2021—The Biden-Harris Administration’s announcement today on how it will distribute the millions of vaccine doses it has pledged to share globally is a move in a positive direction, but the pace and scale of the US COVID-19 global vaccine response is woefully inadequate given the global emergency and race against emerging variants, said the international medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today.

The US government has secured enough doses to protect its entire population of 330 million and still have more than half a billion surplus vaccines left over. It must commit to quickly sharing more of its surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses if it truly wants to end the pandemic. It must also mobilize the transfer of critical vaccine technology and production information so more manufacturers can help boost the global supply, as well as support waiving intellectual property rules to accelerate development of vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics for COVID-19 until the pandemic is over.

—Dr. Carrie Teicher, director of programs at MSF-USA, said of the announcement:

"It’s encouraging to see that the US government has developed an approach for distributing COVID-19 vaccines globally, but the 80 million doses it has promised to share barely scratches the surface of what’s needed.

“While people in the US are returning to a sense of normalcy as vaccination rates climb, people across the globe continue to live in constant fear as they’re caught in second and third waves without protection.

“Increasing equitable access worldwide isn’t only important for those who have yet to be vaccinated; not vaccinating everyone, everywhere as quickly as possible leaves us all vulnerable to new variants taking hold.

“The only way to end this pandemic for everyone is to end it everywhere.

“In the short term, the US must share more vaccines through COVAX, the global initiative for delivering vaccines equitably based on public health needs.

“But this is just the first step; the government must also demand that pharmaceutical corporations that received public funding to develop COVID-19 vaccines transfer the information and technology needed for other manufacturers to help scale up the production of mRNA vaccines globally.

“This is an emergency, and the US government must act with the urgency it merits. In order to fully emerge from this pandemic, we must vaccinate the world. We need an all-out effort and emergency plan from the US that includes sharing more vaccine doses immediately, dramatically scaling up production of vaccines, and removing intellectual property barriers that limit our ability to develop the vaccines and medicines needed to end this pandemic.”