In response to Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)’s submission of their COVID-19 vaccine for emergency approval from the US Food & Drug Administration, Niko Lusiani, Senior Advisor with Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“Scientists have yet again delivered hope in the war against the coronavirus. As a single-dose and lower-cost vaccine, the JNJ vaccine could deliver the necessary boost the world needs to save lives and rebuild our economy.
“Now it’s time for executives and policy makers to deliver a people’s vaccine that is mass produced around the world to ensure access to the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time. JNJ can only produce the vaccine for less than 13 percent of the global population by the end of the year.
“Americans agree that corporations should not hold monopoly over the vaccines which could save lives. We must not allow monopolies to dictate who gets the vaccine and who doesn’t.
“More than 100 million people have already been vaccinated, but only 4 percent of total vaccinations have been in developing countries. Rich countries, including the US, have bought up enough doses to vaccinate their populations three times over, leaving developing countries to compete for the leftovers. In fact, even as this new vaccine is approved, only one in ten people will be vaccinated by the end of the year in many developing countries.
“From development to production to procurement, JNJ’s vaccine was funded largely by the public, so it must be a public good. JNJ’s commitments to more equitable distribution and a non-profit single pandemic price are encouraging steps forward. Next up, the corporation can stake out a position of global leadership in the struggle against COVID by committing to keep its vaccine price at-cost after the pandemic, and sharing its vaccine knowledge, technology, intellectual property, data and know-how to boost supply, reduce price and enhance equity.
“President Biden has a special opportunity to replace the narrow vaccine nationalism of the recent past with the global vaccine solidarity of the future. That’s why more than 100 high-level leaders from public health, faith-based, racial justice, and labor organizations, joined former members of Congress, economists and artists in a public letter calling on President Biden to make every COVID-19 vaccine a People’s Vaccine: a global public good, freely and fairly available to all, prioritizing those most in need here at home and around the world.”