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Delta Variant Shows, Unless Biden Administration Starts Leading Global COVID Vaccine Effort, Pandemic Will Never End

Tuesday Press Conference: MoCs, Civil Society and Labor Leaders Urge Biden To Launch Global Plan to End Pandemic at Next Week’s UN Summit

For Immediate Release: Sept. 9, 2021
Contact: Derrick Robinson, drobinson@citizen.org

MEDIA ADVISORY

 South African Government Official Will Provide Update on WTO Vaccine Waiver as Delta Variant Devastation Foreshadows Devastation of Endless Pandemic 

WHAT: Ahead of the U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) heads of state summit, Member of the U.S. Congress and heads of labor, faith and health organizations will spotlight in a Public Citizen Zoom press conference why President Joe Biden’s leadership is essential to ending the pandemic.

In the months since Biden’s historic support for a waiver of World Trade Organization (WTO) monopoly barriers to greater COVID vaccine production, little progress has been made. And White House COVID Czar Jeffrey Zients has yet to unveil a global plan as the Delta variant detected in India where vaccines are scarce is now raging worldwide. UNGA and Biden’s  global COVID-19 summit will be successful if the president uses them to get the WTO waiver done, require vaccine recipes be shared via  broad tech transfer to speed expansion of COVID medicine supplies, and move funding for much expanded global production.

WHO: U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) 

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.)

Zane Dangor, Republic of South Africa, Special Advisor to the Foreign Minister           

Dr. Joia Mukherjee MD, MPH, Partners In Health, Chief Medical Officer

Father Charles Chilufya SJ, Jesuit Representative for Africa and Madagascar

Sara Nelson, AFA-CWA, President

Moderated by Lori Wallach, Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch

WHEN: Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 9:30 am EST [GMT-4]

HOW: Press can register here.

BACKGROUND: On May 5, people around the globe cheered when President Biden announced the U.S. would support a temporary waiver of WTO intellectual property barriers to boost production of the COVID-19 vaccines needed to save lives and end the pandemic. But months later, Big Pharma monopolies remain, now exacerbated by even higher vaccine prices. Current production capacity cannot supply enough COVID-19 vaccines for the world. The poorest countries may wait until 2024 for mass immunization, if it happens at all, per the Economist Intelligence Unit. To date, 75% of vaccines have been administered in just 10 countries, and only 1% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose, according to World Health Organization statistics.

The U.N. Global Assembly of world leaders comes at a time when the critical shortfall of vaccines, diagnostics and treatments in low- and middle-income nations is enabling more deadly and possibly vaccine-resistant variants to develop and spread domestically and abroad. The delta variant first detected overseas is burning through the U.S., and scientists warn of even deadlier variants as the pandemic drags on. Unless the UNGA results in significant breakthroughs to the WTO waiver, tech transfer and global production funding that ensure that people worldwide can access vaccines and treatments, there can be no end to the public health or economic crises anywhere.

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