On February 1st, 2021, we launched the global campaign “Vaccines Without Borders” asking vaccine companies to enable others to produce their vaccines so that more lives can be saved.
01. General context
Despite the unprecedented speed at which vaccines are being developed, there will not be enough vaccines to cover the world's population until 2023 or 2024.
In addition, most of the available vaccines have been bought by wealthy nations. This vaccine nationalism leaves behind low and middle-income economies. As of mid-January, a small group of rich countries - comprising just 16% of the world's population - purchased 60% of the global vaccine supply.
There are of course great efforts being made to ensure a more fair and equitable distribution of vaccines, such as the COVAX scheme. However, the supply of vaccines is very limited and the success of the scheme relies on countries following up on their commitment to share their doses.
But this doesn’t have to be the case. Vaccine companies cannot meet the global demand: this is why the whole world’s population won’t get access to the vaccines until 2023 or 2024. Considering the scale of the crisis we are in, we need to ensure that there is enough supply, as fast as possible, for all people.
02. The Campaign
That’s why, we, people of the world, are asking big pharmas to enable other companies to produce their vaccines so that more lives can be saved.
Concretely, we need the licensing and technology transfer of the vaccines to companies in low and lower-middle-income countries, for the duration of the pandemic. Only through collaborative global efforts can we overcome the pandemic.
03. Previous efforts
a. May 2020
In May 2020, we launched a week-long snap campaign called Health Workers First. This campaign asked the WHO to ensure that health workers across the world get priority access to future COVID-19 vaccines around the world.
Within the space of a short week, we gathered thousands of signatures, built a strong coalition of influential health workers, partnered with leading organizations, and were featured in international media. People from the world stood by those risking everything to protect the world. They said it loudly, they said it proudly: put Health Workers First. Thanks to this, we got an answer from the Director-General of the World Health Organization thanking us for our campaign.
b. February 2021
In February 2021, we launched the #VaccinesWithoutBorders campaign, first focusing it on Pfizer. Indeed, we created a mass email campaign, asking the company to share its licensing and tech with others in low-income countries. Why just Pfizer? Other companies have taken some (although not enough) steps to ensure that we end the pandemic as quickly as possible. So we thought we would start there.
However, on April 7th, 2021, more than a year after the start of the pandemic and on World Health Day, we believe it is more than time to push ALL companies with a vaccine to share it with those most in need.