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Bio/pharmaceutical manufacturers have made a good first step toward global vaccination through pledging doses at no- to low-profit rates.
In the first six months of the global COVID-19 vaccination campaign, nearly 2 billion vaccine doses have been administered, with nearly 841 million people partially vaccinated and 430 million fully vaccinated. However, these numbers represent a small fraction of the global population in need of vaccines (1).
Most completed vaccinations are concentrated in developed or wealthy nations that secured doses for their population in advance; in some cases, vaccine supply is outpacing demand. In other global regions where the need for vaccinations is critical, programs are hampered by limited supply and resources.
With governments and global trade organizations suggesting waivers to intellectual property protection, patent pooling, and technology transfers to help low- and middle-income countries produce vaccines, manufacturers are suggesting increased production and other steps to meet global demand (2).
The International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA), which represents leading bio/pharmaceutical companies and bio/pharmaceutical associations, in May 2021 noted in a statement that “Manufacturers, governments, and non-governmental organizations must work together to take urgent steps to further address this inequity. Immediate action must focus on stepping up responsible dose sharing and maximizing production without compromising quality or safety” (3).
Proposed actions include encouraging nations with significant vaccine supplies to share a “meaningful proportion” of doses with low-income countries; expand production partnerships and access to raw materials; urge governments to eliminated trade and regulatory barriers; provide support for vaccine deployment; and prioritize the development of new COVID-19 vaccines.
Manufacturers have pledged to provide more than 1 billion vaccine doses at no- and low-profit rates to lower income countries (2). That’s a good first step on a long journey to vaccinating the world.
1. Our World in Data, “Coronavirus (COVID-19) Vaccinations,” www.ourworldindata.org, accessed June 1, 2021.
2. J. Wechsler, “Vaccine Makers Ramp Up Production, Donations to Protect IP,” www.PharmTech.com, June 1, 2021.
3. IFPMA, “Five Steps to Urgently Advance COVID-19 Vaccine Equity,” Press Release, May 19, 2021.
Rita Peters is editorial director of BioPharm International.
Vol. 34, No. 6
When referring to this article, please cite it as R. Peters, “A “We are the World” Vaccination Effort?” BioPharm International 34 (6) 2021.