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 firstname.lastname@example.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.
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
Kymone Freeman from WeActRadio shared the need for a Peoples Vaccine at the DC Day of Reflection produced by DC Jazz Fest in remembrance of the lives lost to COVID-19 so far in the pandemic. Kymone’s call to action for a “Peoples Vaccine” is one shared by the Peoples Vaccine Alliance (our campaign is a lead member) in which we call for vaccines that are safe, effective, available to all and free for all those who choose to take them, wherever they are in the world. As numbers of deaths from COVID-19 rise in the USA and all over the world, this growing global cry, supported by Nobel Laureates and many former world leaders, is needed now more than ever if we are to curb the pandemic as quickly as possible.
Image from Dogukan Keskinkilic/Anadolu Agency/Getty
The COVID-19 vaccine may almost be here, but the race is far from over. Countries have scrambled to secure doses for their populations, while often neglecting the needs of low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). As a result, LMICs have been placed last on the waiting list, with the Duke Global Health Innovation Center predicting they may have to wait until 2023 or 2024 for vaccination.
Nature reports that over 10 billion doses for the vaccine have been pre-ordered, which includes most of the 2021 manufacturing capacity for all three leading candidates (AstraZeneca, Pfizer, and Moderna).
Although they account for only around 13% of the world’s population, 27 member states of the EU along with five rich countries have pre-ordered about 1/2 of this global supply. Canada alone has pre-ordered almost 9 doses of the vaccine per person, followed by the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and the European Union in terms of the number of pre-ordered doses. Vaccine hoarding by rich countries leaves the world’s most vulnerable without access, raising questions on equitable vaccine allocation. Read more on Nature News here.
With progress on the vaccine front making the news over the past few weeks, we can look to the history of mRNA vaccines to highlight the importance of a free vaccine. While no public statements on ensuring global access to the COVID-19 vaccine have been made, Pfizer has made sure to note that their vaccine was developed with no public funding.
Nevertheless, the Pfizer vaccine is a joint effort with the German company BioNTech, who did accept public funding for the research and development of the vaccine candidate. In addition, the technology behind Pfizer/BioNTech’s vaccine was first developed by researchers at the University of Wisconsin, an institution that receives public funding, in 1990.
While the idea was dismissed upon its discovery, it has become the leading technology in the COVID-19 vaccine race, used as the backbone for both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Read more from STAT News here.
Washington Post reports that the new frontier of vaccine diplomacy can be characterized by two paths: stockpile or share. While entities like the United States and the European Union have been focusing on stockpiling vaccines for their respective populations, other countries, such as China and Russia, have been focusing on sharing their vaccine(s) with other entities around the world. The issue of vaccine distribution and allocation has quickly become a leverage point in diplomacy, which will have significant impacts on distribution equity.
“There are critical questions about safety and efficacy — or even how much each country can produce. But, for the moment, those questions are overshadowed in a seller’s market.”
Read more about the implications of vaccine diplomacy on global public health here.
On December 4th and 9th, 2020, several organizations are collaborating to host the event: Vaccine Allocation and Social Justice. Open to all, the purpose of the event is to share concrete steps on how to improve the chances of equitable vaccine allocation. The event will include multiple sessions which different focuses, including challenges in distribution, legal ways of allocating vaccines equitably, and implementing equity.
“A particular focus is on ensuring that the needs of vulnerable groups whose communities often experienced—and experience—structural racism and other forms of systemic injustice are central, rather than, as too often in the past, peripheral.”
The participating hosts include Ariadne Labs, Boston College, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, the International Society for Priorities in Health, MIT Economics, the O’Neill Institute, and the University of Pennsylvania.
More information and registration for this virtual event can be found here.