For Immediate Release
July 26, 2022
WASHINGTON, D.C. – In advance of the White House Summit on the Future of COVID-19 Vaccines today, 29 groups including Public Citizen, Demand Progress and Revolving Door Project, a project of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, sent a letter to President Joe Biden urging him to ensure that pan coronavirus vaccine technology currently under development by the U.S. military remain public, and shared with the world.
If successful, the vaccine under development at U.S. Army’s Walter Reed Institute of Research could fight not only the virus that causes Covid-19 but new coronaviruses. The letter cites how private, monopoly control over previous coronavirus vaccines funded with public money contributed to shortages, rationing, and excessive prices. “It is crucial that we learn from earlier mistakes in managing publicly funded vaccine technology,” notes the letter. “There is no compelling reason to offer this technology on a monopoly basis to a corporation, and a profoundly compelling reason to make the technology as open and readily accessible as possible across the globe.”
The letter urges the Biden administration to:
- Openly license the vaccine to qualified manufacturers on conditions ensuring fair pricing and equitable access;
- Share vaccine technology, data and know-how with the World Health Organization, including through the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP); and
- Prepare to invest in government-owned production facilities.
“When it comes to life-saving coronavirus vaccines, ‘public-private partnership’ has been a euphemism for corporate profiteering from technology developed by taxpayer dollars,” said Peter Maybarduk, director of the Access to Medicines program at Public Citizen. “We should learn the lessons of our most recent experience with COVID vaccines that have simply been too little, too late in terms of global manufacturing and distribution.”
“Current production and distribution agreements have empowered corporations while limiting the promise of life-saving coronavirus vaccines,” Revolving Door Project Senior Researcher Timi Iwayemi said. “Continuing down a path that restricts widespread manufacturing and distribution of COVID vaccines would lead to unnecessary deaths and easier opportunities for the virus to mutate.”