ONE reacts to Biden’s plan to buy more excess vaccine doses while the world faces a vaccine access crisis

WASHINGTON — The ONE Campaign released the below statement following the news that the Biden administration plans to purchase an additional 100 million vaccines from Johnson & Johnson. 

According to recent analysis from ONE, prior to today’s announcement, the US had already purchased over 453 million excess vaccine doses that global health experts believe should be shared with low-income countries to help bring a faster end to this global pandemic. Today’s news brings the total excess vaccine doses purchased by the US to over 550 million.

Sarah Swinehart, North America senior director for communications at The ONE Campaign:

“We are in a race against time against the virus. With today’s announcement, the US will soon have over 550 million excess vaccine doses while billions of people in countries around the world have yet to see a single dose. The world is currently facing a vaccine access crisis and the Biden administration has not yet established a clear framework or timeline for distributing excess vaccine doses while simultaneously vaccinating the US’ domestic population.

“With new variants forming, it’s in our domestic and global interest to extinguish this pandemic everywhere, fast, to shorten the lifespan and prevent further mutations. The only way to defeat this virus for good is to defeat it everywhere — and that requires an immediate plan for sharing excess vaccine doses globally.”

BACKGROUND

Recent analysis from ONE (prior to today’s J&J announcement) shows the US has purchased at least 453 million excess COVID-19 vaccine doses that could be used to vaccinate people in the world’s poorest countries. Today’s announcement brings the total of excess vaccines doses purchased by the US to over 550 million. To date, the Biden administration’s position has been that the US won’t share vaccines globally until most Americans receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Global health experts warn this could prolong the pandemic. Leaders, including French President Emmanuel Macron, have called on countries to allocate 4-5% of their vaccine doses to low-income countries.

Global access to vaccines will save lives and make all of us safer. Research shows that in a scenario where a vaccine is not distributed fairly, twice as many people could die as the virus continues to wreak havoc on the world. If a vaccine is distributed exclusively to high-income countries first, the world will only avoid 33% of COVID-19 related deaths. But, if a vaccine is distributed to every country on the globe proportionally to its population rather than prioritizing high-income countries, the world could avoid 61% of COVID-19 related deaths. 

Ensuring global access to a vaccine will not only end the pandemic sooner, but will boost the global economy. The economic cost of not distributing a vaccine everywhere would be enormous. A recent study found the global economy stands to lose as much as $9.2 trillion if governments fail to ensure developing economy access to COVID-19 vaccine.

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