Countries Must Put Global Health Above Self Interest: Oxfam
Pfizer Inc. and other drugmakers pledged to get more COVID-19 vaccines to poorer countries over the next 18 months, ramping up efforts to battle the coronavirus pandemic.
The pledges from Pfizer, Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson were made at a summit of Group of 20 nations on Friday. At the event, leaders will pledge to prioritize multilateralism to tackle the virus and prevent future outbreaks, a bid to turn the page on damaging tensions in the response to the pandemic.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of international cooperation,” said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi, whose country holds the G-20 presidency.
Pfizer’s numbers amount to 1 billion doses in 2022 for low and middle-income countries, on top of a similar target for this year. Moderna is also planning to deliver more shots, while J&J said it’s in talks to supply 300 million in 2022.
“We will not be safe until everyone is protected across the world,” Stephane Bancel, chief executive of Moderna, told the summit.
The pledges come after some drugmakers and wealthy countries have faced criticism for not prioritizing vaccine equity enough while making billions of dollars from their shots. Pfizer has forecast sales of US$26 billion for its vaccine this year, with Moderna set to make about US$19 billion.
AstraZeneca Plc was the first company to agree to contribute to the Covax program last year and is providing the vaccine at cost during the period of the pandemic.
Leaders at the gathering are due to sign the so-called Declaration of Rome, a set of guiding principles ranging from ensuring fair distribution of vaccines to ramping up production and possibly using compulsory licenses, according to officials who asked not to be identified ahead of the talks.
“As we prepare for the next pandemic, our priority must be to ensure that we all overcome the current one together,” said Draghi, who is jointly hosting the summit with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The two will hold a news conference after the event.
Von der Leyen said the EU aims to donate at least 100 million doses to low and middle-income countries by the end of 2021.
She said that vaccines must “reach everybody everywhere, not only through sharing and export but also by spreading manufacturing capacities to more regions.”