Countries around the world see the COVID-19 vaccine as the golden ticket out of the pandemic, but access to vaccines remains uneven, so much so that shareholders of a drugmaker are demanding answers on the iniquity.
There are currently several vaccine manufacturers producing a COVID-19 vaccine and the The US government has joined with a handful to provide funding for development as well as contracts to confirm vaccine purchases. Moderna received $ 945 million for development and $ 4.9 billion for the purchase of 300 million doses of its two-dose mRNA vaccine.
Moderna has billed in the US around $ 15 per dose, while in other countries it charges up to $ 30 per dose, according to Fortune.
However, Moderna has been accused of supplying its COVID-19 vaccine primarily to wealthy countries, like the United States and the United Kingdom, while poorer countries maintain insanely low vaccination rates. According to a New York Times analysisModerna shipped more of its doses to wealthy countries than any other vaccine maker.
According to The Times, Moderna shipped around one million doses of its vaccine to low-income countries, while vaccine maker Pfizer sent around 8.4 million and Johnson & Johnson shipped around 25 million.
Asset management company Legal & General wrote to Moderna earlier in December on how the pharmaceutical company failed to pledge to deliver its nonprofit vaccine during the pandemic, while charging countries like Botswana, Thailand and Colombia between $ 27 and $ 30 per dose, which is more than what many high-income countries have been charged.
Oxfam America, shareholders of Moderna, also reacted quickly to the company’s lack of vaccine supply in the poorest countries, publish a statement last week, according to which Moderna was “unable to produce enough doses to cover global needs, but was unwilling to share the technology with other manufacturers to increase production so that everyone, everywhere, can have access to this vaccine that saves lives “.
Oxfam America also accused Moderna of failing to disclose a patent dispute with the United States’ National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“Instead of being transparent and using its life-saving technology to help curb the pandemic, Moderna is doing the opposite, obscuring its patent dispute with the US government, ignoring the death and suffering of millions of people around the world. and refusing to share their technology to help ease the stranglehold COVID-19 has placed on the global economy, ”said Diana Kearney, senior legal counsel and shareholder advocacy at Oxfam.
Oxfam and Legal & General’s statements come after Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel announced in October that his company would deliver up to 500 million doses of the vaccine from the fourth quarter of 2021 through 2022.
Moderna has pledged to issue a statement by mid-February 2022 that will provide an explanation for Legal & General’s statements, according to Fortune. The company also has its 2022 annual meeting scheduled for April next year.
However, an independent COVID-19 response initiative called COVID Global Responsibility Platform (COVID GAP) found that as of November 2021, many goals, commitments and pledges to help resolve the pandemic still had not been met. COVID GAP also revealed that almost all low-income countries, including most African countries, are at high risk of not meeting a 40 percent immunization target by the end of this year.
The group estimates that around 650 million additional doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are needed for countries at risk to meet the 40% target.
This is in stark contrast to richer countries like the United States, which currently have a 72% vaccination rate and administer booster injections.
In an emailed statement to Changing America, a spokesperson for Moderna said the company was aware of Oxfam’s complaint and that “we take our obligations under the SEC disclosure rules seriously and vigorously challenge these baseless allegations. We are committed to working in conjunction with the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and emerging variants such as Omicron. “
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