Biopharma groups pledge vaccine equity

May 19, 2021
Everyone’s talking about COVID vaccine equity—but what should we REALLY do to make it happen? We joined a commitment outlining five concrete steps. Meanwhile, we tell you what you need to watch in D.C. today and how you can support farmers and the planet. (762 words, 3…
BIO

Everyone’s talking about COVID vaccine equity—but what should we REALLY do to make it happen? We joined a commitment outlining five concrete steps. Meanwhile, we tell you what you need to watch in D.C. today and how you can support farmers and the planet. (762 words, 3 minutes, 48 seconds)

 

Biopharma advocacy groups around globe pledge vaccine equity

 
 

About two weeks ago, BIO laid out a plan—the SHARE program—which outlined steps government and industry could partner on to get vaccines in arms in developing countries. Today, a group of international advocacy organizations including BIO made many of those commitments global.

The news: BIO joined the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA) and five other industry groups in a commitment to action to ensure equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

Global vaccine manufacturers increased production “in just a few months from zero to 2.2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of May,” says the statement, with 11 billion doses projected by year’s endbut more action is needed to ensure equitable distribution.  

So, we commit to these five steps: 

  1. Step up dose sharing. Work with governments that have significant domestic supplies to share unused doses with low- and middle-income countries. BIO yesterday lauded progress in this direction by President Biden, who committed to share 20 million additional doses.
  2. Continue to optimize production. Maximize production without compromising safety through additional collaborations with partners that can produce vaccines as well as cooperation with governments and suppliers to scale up quickly.
  3. Call out trade barriers to be eliminated. Urge governments to free up flow of critical inputs, support the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) in addressing gaps, and facilitate COVAX’s efforts to improve capacity. Urge WTO to eliminate barriers to export of key materials, vaccines, and skilled workers.
  4. Support country readiness. Partner with governments to support deployment of COVID-19 vaccine doses within their shelf life and mitigate risks to production of other vital vaccines.
  5. Drive further innovation. Prioritize development of new vaccines for COVID-19 and new variants. Urge access to pathogens of variants, to support vaccine development.

Read the statement. 

From Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath: The commitments released today represent a global solution to the very real problem of vaccine equity in the developing world. We most certainly believe that this is a much more effective and productive way to accomplish those goals without taking the unnecessary and unwise step of simply turning over our science and our recipe book for making the vaccines which are ending this pandemic.

So, what does this mean for the TRIPS waiver, which would force scientists to turn over their processes and patents for the vaccines? As BIO pointed out two weeks ago, plans like the one we released today are a much better way to get vaccines to developing countries while also creating American jobs in the process.

 
 
 
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How you can support the Growing Climate Solutions Act

 
 

Do you like farmers and the planet? Of course you do. We launched a BIOAction campaign to drive support for the Growing Climate Solutions Act, bipartisan legislation that would give a boost to America’s farmers and the bioeconomy while helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

ICYMI: The Growing Climate Solutions Act would create a voluntary, producer-led carbon sequestration certification program at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and provide farmers with technical resources to participate in carbon markets. 

Cosponsored by 47 U.S. Senators on both sides of the aisle, the bill has support from 50+ agricultural and environmental organizations—including BIO and BIO member companies like Aequor, Bayer, Boehringer Ingleheim Animal Health, Cargill, Corteva, and Novozymes. This is a reintroduction of a bill introduced last year, which we supported then with a BIOAction campaign. 

Why it matters to farmers: It will make it easier for farmers, ranchers, and foresters to voluntarily deploy their land in the fight against climate change and bolster their income by solving the technical entry barriers to carbon markets. 

Why it matters to the planet: Sustainable land management practices can contribute to significant emissions reductions and drawdown CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. 

BIO has long supported this bill—and it’s included in the recommendations from the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance, of which BIO is a member. 

Watch: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Dr. Michelle McMurry-Heath discussed the first version of the bill during BIO IMPACT last fall.

Our BIOAction campaign makes it easy for you to tell your lawmakers that you support this legislation, too! Click here to take part.

 

More Agriculture and Environment News: 

The New York Times: Nations must drop fossil fuels, fast, world energy body warns
“In a sweeping new report, the International Energy Agency issued a detailed road map of what it would take for the world’s nations to slash carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050.”

 
 
 
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President Biden’s Wednesday: Speaking at the Coast Guard Academy commencement. Meanwhile, he’s delaying a Trump-era ban on U.S. investments in certain Chinese companies, reports Bloomberg

What’s Happening on Capitol Hill: Yesterday, the House passed the anti-Asian hate crimes bill, sending it to President Biden for signature, reports Roll Call. Today, the House is getting ready to vote on legislation to establish a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the Capitol—which some Republicans are now indicating they might support—and the Senate will resume consideration of the BIO-supported Endless Frontier Act (now called the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act).

Meanwhile, a few hearings to watch today. This morning, House Ways & Means will discuss leveraging the tax code for infrastructure investment (10 AM ET), while the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis will hear from executives from Emergent BioSolutions (10:30 AM ET). This afternoon, Senate Homeland Security will evaluate the medical supply chain and pandemic response gaps (2:30 PM ET).

 
 
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