Global health organizations push Biden to share excess COVID-19 vaccine doses with world’s poorest, issue warning on global vaccine access crisis

WASHINGTON — Over 30 leading development and global health organizations have sent a letter to President Biden sounding the alarm about the global vaccine access crisis and the need for the United States to share its excess COVID-19 vaccine doses with those countries in greatest need.

To date, the United States has secured over 550 million excess COVID-19 vaccine doses which the groups believe should be shared low-income countries through COVAX. The groups also outlined a series of recommendations the administration can take to expand vaccine manufacturing capacity and supply.

“We, the undersigned organizations, are writing to sound the alarm,” the letter reads. “The US has secured enough doses to vaccinate 100 percent of the population, including children, and still have around 554 million doses left over. With one-third of the world’s countries still not having access to vaccines and new variants forming, it’s in our domestic and global interest to extinguish this pandemic everywhere to shorten the virus’ lifespan and prevent further mutations.”

The letter is signed by the following organizations: Asylum Access, Better World Campaign, The Borgen Project, CARE USA, Catholic Relief Services, Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, Equal Access International, Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, GOAL USA Fund, Global Citizen, Helen Keller International, Helping Hand for Relief and Development, IMA World Health, InterAction, International Medical Corps, International Rescue Committee, Last Mile Health, Management Sciences for Health, Mercy Corps, Pandemic Action Network, Plan International USA, PATH, Physicians for Peace, RESULTS, Save the Children, [email protected], The ONE Campaign, The Task Force for Global Health, UNICEF USA, United Nations Association of the USA, WaterAid America and Wellcome Trust.

The full letter is available here

President Biden himself has stated that America will not be safe until the world is safe, and has said: “If we have a surplus, we’re going to share it with the rest of the world.” However, the administration still has not released a plan or framework for sharing its excess doses. Meanwhile, countries like China are sharing nearly two-thirds of their domestically produced vaccines with other countries. 

At a minimum, the groups argue the Biden administration should follow through on its National Security Memorandum and release “a framework for donating surplus vaccines, once there is sufficient supply in the United States, to countries in need, including through the COVAX Facility.” The groups are also urging the Administration to take steps to expand manufacturing capacity for COVID-19 vaccines and hope to see progress from the administration in the lead up to the G20 Global Health Summit in May and the G7 in early June.

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