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People’s Vaccine Global Day of Action

Join the global day of action on March 11!

Our best chance of ending this pandemic is to ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments. But pharmaceutical monopolies are restricting supply, leaving countries in the global south waiting up to 2023 for widespread vaccination. This will lead to even more unnecessary loss of lives and allow the virus to spread and mutate, which will threaten everyone as no one is safe until everyone is safe.

We cannot stay silent in the face of vaccine apartheid.

On 11 March, one year since the WHO declared a COVID-19 pandemic, we are mobilising people from around the world to raise a public outcry at this injustice.

On March 11 we will be demanding that:

Pharmaceutical companies openly share their technological know-how to make their vaccines. They can do this through joining the World Health Organsiation Covid-19 Technology and Access Pool (C-TAP).

Governments suspend patent rules at the World Trade Organisation on Covid19 vaccines and health technologies during the pandemic.

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Season 3 of Free the Vaccine is Underway!

Free the Vaccine launched it’s next round, Season 3, on February 17. With over 100 participants from across the globe, we are ready to continue the fight for equitable access to COVID-10 vaccines, diagnostics, and treatments.

This time around, we broaden our strategy to pressure not only universities but also public institutions, including governments and research institutes, to share their technology and know-how with the world. And we’ll also work to get good information out to the public about their contribution to research and development of vaccines and other treatments.

See our demands below & check back often to see what we’ve got going on!


Universities

Universities that have worked to develop COVID-19 innovation, technology, and know-how should share it with the world. We call on universities to join the WHO’s COVID Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) and sign the Open Covid Pledge to increase production and drive a quicker end to this pandemic for everyone, everywhere.

Publicly-funded institutions

Governments and public research institutions should support policies and demonstrate leadership to ensure enough vaccines are manufactured to meet the needs of people everywhere. We want our governments to support international law and pass national legislation that puts people before the profits of pharmaceutical companies.

Public education

We want the public to have a good understanding of publicly-funded medicines, the role of the public in the research and development process, and why sharing intellectual property is the key to ending the pandemic worldwide. Through increasing public understanding of the research and development process and making sure that media reports accurately on pharmaceuticals and the pandemic, we can change the public conversation about not just vaccines but medicines, overall!

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In the Media

FTV Exhibit Covered in Indiana University News

The Free the Vaccine exhibit was covered in the news from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)! Laura Holzman, who curates the exhibit with other FTV members, is an associate professor and public scholar of curatorial practices and visual art at IUPUI.

Herron Galleries at IUPUI will host the exhibit this spring. Joseph Mella, director and curator of the Herron Galleries says of the exhibit: “‘Creativity vs. COVID’ reveals the central role that art can take in expanding our understanding of incredibly important issues, such as the pandemic we find ourselves in today,” said Joseph Mella, director and curator of the Herron Galleries.

Read the full article: ‘Creativity vs. COVID’ uses artistic activism to communicate needs for vaccine.

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Monopolies causing “artificial rationing” in COVID-19 crisis as 3 biggest global vaccine giants sit on sidelines

PRESS RELEASE
5 February 2021

The supply of safe and effective vaccines for all is being artificially rationed because of the protection of exclusive rights and monopolies of pharmaceutical corporations, the People’s Vaccine Alliance said today.

The alliance warned that the three biggest vaccine companies in the world are largely sitting on the sidelines – they currently plan to produce enough COVID-19 vaccines for only 1.5 per cent of the global population in 2021. A number of other large manufacturers are not yet producing any of the successful, proven COVID-19 vaccines.

At the same time, the producers of approved vaccines, Pfizer/ BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, aim to produce enough doses to vaccinate around a third the global population. But because rich countries have bought multiple doses of these vaccines the actual figure of humanity covered is a lot less.  While Astra Zeneca has sold the majority of its doses to developing countries, Pfizer/ BioNTech and Moderna have sold almost all of their doses to rich nations, while failing to share their successful technology openly, despite huge public subsidies. Their vaccines are prohibitively expensive for many poor nations.

In the face of worldwide vaccine shortages and dramatic moves by the EU to restrict vaccine exports, the alliance, which includes the health NGO EMERGENCY, Frontline AIDS and Oxfam urged governments and the pharmaceutical industry to scale up production. It said they should remove the artificial barriers to tackling the global supply crisis, including by suspending intellectual property rules, sharing technology and ending monopoly control, so that everyone, everywhere has access to the vaccine as quickly as possible.

This week the Director General of the World Health Organisation, Dr Tedros Adhanom has said that sharing of technology and waiving of intellectual property will make vaccinating the world and controlling this disease possible.

Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s Health Policy Manager said: “The world is in a race to reach herd immunity to get this disease under control, save millions of lives and get our economy going again. This is a race we have to win before new mutations render our existing vaccines obsolete. Yet the pursuit of profits and monopolies means we are losing that race.

“People out there would be forgiven for thinking that every major vaccine company is working flat out to vaccinate the world, but this is simply not the case. We need every company on earth who can make safe and effective vaccines for COVID-19 to be making them right now. We urgently need to lift the veil of corporate secrecy and instead have open-source vaccines, mass produced by as many vaccine players as possible, including crucially those in developing countries.

“By refusing to share their technology and waive their intellectual property, companies like Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech, are artificially rationing the supply of successful vaccines with the hopes of reaping huge financial rewards. This is despite both benefiting from huge public subsidy. This will cost lives and prolong the economic pain which is hitting the poorest hardest.”

The three biggest global vaccine producing pharmaceutical corporations by market value are GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Merck and Sanofi and between them they have only pledged to produce 225 million vaccines this year. Earlier this week GSK announced that it will be working with CureVac to develop a vaccine to tackle emerging variants of COVID-19 next year and will help manufacture up to 100 million doses of CureVac’s vaccine which is still in clinical trials.

Last week Sanofi announced a deal to help produce 125 million doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, but this is a drop in the ocean in comparison to the scale of need and will likely only benefit EU countries. Before setbacks in the clinical trials of their own potential joint vaccine, Sanofi and GSK had supply deals to produce almost five times as many doses than they are offering to produce of Pfizer and CureVac’s COVID-19 vaccines respectively.

Merck, the second biggest vaccine company in the world had been building up capacity to produce hundreds of millions of doses of one or both of its COVID-19 vaccine candidates, but the company recently announced it would be discontinuing development of these vaccines due to poor trial results.

GSK, Sanofi and Merck have received over $2billion from the US government as part of its Operation Warp Speed to support production of vaccines.

Meanwhile the Danish pharmaceutical company Bavarian Nordic this week offered up the capacity to produce 240 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines in its factory, but none of the successful vaccine companies have taken up the offer so far.

More than 108 million people have been vaccinated so far, but only 4 per cent of total vaccinations have been in developing countries, the vast majority of which have been in India. Of the poorest countries in the world only Guinea has been able to vaccinate 55 people [1]. Rich countries have bought up enough doses to vaccinate their populations three times over, leaving developing countries to compete for the leftovers. Analysis by the Peoples Vaccine Alliance has shown that the limited supply of the approved vaccines means that unless action is taken only one in ten people will be vaccinated by the end of the year in many developing countries.

It is also likely that potential capacity in developing countries is being overlooked. The Serum Institute of India is already producing hundreds of millions of vaccines for COVID-19 on behalf of AstraZeneca and Novovax as well as developing their own, but there are at least 20 more vaccine manufacturers in India. Many other vaccine producers in developing and rich countries may already have or could quickly increase capacity to manufacture proven safe and effective vaccines if they had the know-how and intellectual property licenses. Globally, UNICEF data suggests just 43 per cent of reported COVID-19 vaccine production capacity is currently being used for the approved vaccines [2].

The People’s Vaccine Alliance is calling on US President Joe Biden and the governments of the UK and EU to use their emergency powers and to leverage their massive public funding to put pressure on Pfizer/ BioNTech, Astra Zeneca, Moderna and other subsequently successful vaccine producers, to openly share their vaccine science and technology, to waive their patents and insist that all other major vaccine producers get involved in production.  President Biden could use the Defense Production Act to help maximise the production of vaccines in the coming months.

Lois Chingandu, Director of Frontline AIDS, said: “Over $100 billion of taxpayers money has funded these vaccines, while the companies behind the three successful vaccine candidates are set to make over $30 billion in revenue this year alone.

“Public investments mean these are public goods, which should be used to benefit all humanity, not private property there to benefit shareholders. Leaders must act now to override this broken system of patents, monopolies and secrecy to deliver a People’s Vaccine for all.”

Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech use mRNA technology, which potentially allows production to be rapidly scaled-up. Yet both companies are not committed to openly sharing their technology, leaving many potential producers on the sidelines.

The alliance is also calling on the US and other governments like Germany to invest in new production facilities especially in developing countries, in order to massively scale up the production of safe and effective vaccines and to build infrastructure that can respond better to future pandemics.

Heidi Chow, Senior Campaigns and Policy Manager at Global Justice Now, said: “Business as usual is not enough in a global pandemic. In times of war, manufacturers have often put aside normal competition to work together for a common cause. Surely governments should be insisting that the same spirit applies today, when so many people’s lives and livelihoods are at stake?”

/Ends

For more information, or to arrange an interview please contact: Sarah Dransfield, in the Oxfam press office, on + 44 (0)7884 114825 / email sdransfield@oxfam.org.uk or media@peoplesvaccine.org

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News

We already paid for these vaccines once

Don’t miss this fantastic article co-authored by Free the Vaccine supporter and advocate Dr Reshma Ramachandran today in The Nation. Reshma will also be joining us at 12:30pm for our info session this afternoon, January 27th. Sign up on the home page of Free the Vaccine!

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News

Join FTV on Community Thru Covid

Join Tayyiaba, Maanasa, Rachel and Merith tomorrow Wednesday January 27th LIVE at 11am via WeActRadio for a show called Community Thru Covid! We’ll be discussing the progress of Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 and what’s coming next! This show will be recorded so be sure to check it out and share on social media!

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News

Join the next round of Free the Vaccine!

We are gearing up for another round of Free the Vaccine!

Even as we see vaccines start to roll out in many countries, access is still not equitable. While rich countries negotiate contracts with pharmaceutical companies to secure doses of the vaccine at home, 9 out of 10 people in poor countries will have to wait.

Dr. Tedros, Director General of the World Health Organization, and many world leaders have stressed that no one is safe until everyone is safe. Global solidarity at every level is critical to make sure that diagnostic tools, treatments, and vaccines are free from patents and available to everyone everywhere, free at the point-of-delivery.

That’s why our campaign is more important now than ever. Join us to continue the push, from the ground up, to Free the Vaccine for COVID-19!

Application deadline February 7.

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News

Become a FTV Project Manager

In support of the Free the Vaccine for Covid-19 Campaign led by UAEM and the Center for Artistic Activism, we are looking for a few part-time intern Project Managers. Project Managers will support participants in achieving the objectives of the campaign; assist in training participants in Access to Medicines and Creative Activism; and champion our diverse, vibrant community. 

Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 is a global movement working to ensure that COVID-19 testing, treatments and vaccines are safe, effective and available to all for free. The movement works as an Advocacy Innovation Lab, bringing together hundreds of people from around the world to collaboratively devise, design, implement and evaluate new forms of advocacy that can succeed in these challenging times. 

Since March 2020, we have run two seasons of the campaign. We are preparing to launch our third season in February and we will be implementing several exciting changes, including: broadening our targets to include government entities and the media in addition to universities, grouping participants by interest rather than geographic region, and increasing collaboration across groups. 

Project Managers will be critical to building our Season 3 FTV community, running the campaign and achivieving our goals of COVID-19 healthcare for all.

Details:
Preferred but not required: Previous Free the Vaccine Project Managers or participants, or current or alumni UAEM members, C4AA alumni
Reports to: UAEM North America Executive Director & FTV Lead Project Manager
Type of position: Part-time intern
Time Commitment: 8 hours/week 
Duration: 16 weeks
Start Date: February 1, 2021
Location: Remote
Stipend: small stipend will be provided ($15 per hour)

If you are interested and have the required skills and time commitment, please use this form to apply. If you have questions, please email rachel@c4aa.org.

Deadline for application: January 22, 2021

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News

Dr. Fauci says “Yes, yes, yes!” to C-TAP

When asked if he would encourage the US to join the WHO’s COVID Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) so that NIH-funded COVID technology and know-how can be shared with the world, Dr. Fauci responds, “Yes, yes, yes!”

Watch here:

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News

Oh, the Places You’ll Go…With a Free Vaccine

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact  

Joyce-Zoe Farley, Ph.D.

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM)  

 +1 201.983.3787

Communications@essentialmedicine.org

Students and Activists Urge Arizona State University’s President Crow to Sign Open COVID Pledge for a People’s Vaccine

WASHINGTON, DC–December 10, 2020 — “…Big Pharma is waiting for a public discovery, so they can make big money off the COVID recovery…If Big Pharma’s vaccine costs a whole lot, the haves will have it; the have-nots will not.” Members of the Free The Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign released a sneak preview of a Dr. Seuss children’s inspired book to draw attention to the coronavirus vaccinations and its related health justice issues. 

In the past several weeks, Moderna and Pfizer both announced that their respective vaccines are over 90 percent effective in preventing exposure to COVID-19. They are awaiting FDA emergency authorization to begin inoculating Americans. Oh, the Places You’ll Go! With a Free Vaccine! is sending a message to COVID-19 vaccine response key players: no one should have to pay for it a second time when the vaccine hits the market. This message also extends to universities where the vast majority of research on inoculation is being developed. To date, taxpayers have contributed nearly $10 billion dollars to vaccine development per the HHS website. 

“What many people don’t realize is that they’ve already paid for the COVID-19 vaccine. Much of the research that big pharmaceutical companies claim as the reason for charging such high prices is actually publicly funded,” said Brittany Herrick, MPH, member of Free the Vaccine and Public Health Advocate with the Health Global Access Project (Health GAP).

Members of the campaign are specifically targeting Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe, Ariz., as the university has announced they are committed to conducting critical research on COVID-19 testing and vaccines. The decisions made by the university will contribute to coronavirus treatment, discoveries, and impact the distribution of treatments in the ASU and greater Tempe/Phoenix communities. 

Activists and students from Free the Vaccine are urging ASU President, Dr. Michael Crow, to sign the Open COVID Pledge, obligating the university to freely share intellectual property that the university holds or develops that could help end the COVID-19 pandemic and minimize any further devastation due to the illness. “By signing the Open COVID Pledge, Dr. Michael Crow has the opportunity to show the world that Arizona State University is committed to being at the forefront of the movement to end the COVID-19 pandemic and willing to make history as the first university to make this pledge,” said Shreya Kosuru, honors student at Arizona State University and member of Free the Vaccine.

The project Oh, the Places You’ll Go…With a Free Vaccine, is an homage to Dr. Seuss’ classic Oh, the Places You’ll Go!. The childhood favorite is enjoyed by children around the world and it’s the message now is to advance humanity, compassion, and make ASU’s intellectual property open to all to aid in eradicating the coronavirus. “Like so many people, we were inspired by the story of Dr. Jonas Salk. He discovered the polio vaccine and refused to patent it, making it possible to eliminate the threat of Polio in all but a few remaining countries,” said Zeph Fishlyn, member of Free The Vaccine. Salk is a pioneer and revered scientist who is best admired and known for putting public health and humanity above and beyond the need to make millions during the Polio epidemic.

The sneak preview of ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go…With a Free Vaccine’ can be found in the exhibit on YouTube. The entire project is expected to be released on Free the Vaccine website before the end of the year. 

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Free The Vaccine for COVID-19 is a global campaign launched by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines (UAEM) and the Center for Artistic Activism (C4AA), working to ensure that tax-payer funded coronavirus vaccines are sustainably priced, available to all, and free at the point of delivery. Launched in March 2020, it’s in its second round of university student-led activism supported by medical professionals and allies with over 300 participants from 30 countries. To learn more, go to freethevaccine.org 

The Open COVID Pledge calls on research universities, institutions, and pharmaceutical companies to make their vaccine(s), treatment(s), therapeutic(s), and computer software freely available in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. The Pledge is a coalition of researchers, scientists, academics, and lawyers working to accelerate the rapid development and deployment of necessary aid and equipment to control the transmission of the coronavirus. The project is now led by Creative Commons. https://opencovidpledge.org