COVID-19: ‘We Need a People’s Vaccine, Not a Profit Vaccine’: Sen. Bernie Sanders

— Sanders Urges Biden to Support Push to Suspend Pharma Patents

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) speaks during a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing on Capitol Hill on January 27, 2021 in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)

Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont on Wednesday urged President Joe Biden to support an India and South Africa-led effort at the World Trade Organization to temporarily suspend coronavirus vaccine-related intellectual property rights in order to facilitate speedy global production and distribution of the life-saving shots—a proposal backed by nearly 70% of U.S. adults and more than 100 nations worldwide.       

“Ending this pandemic requires collaboration, solidarity, and empathy. It requires a very different mindset—a mindset that puts people over profits at every turn.”

“It is unconscionable that amid a global health crisis, huge multibillion dollar pharmaceutical companies continue to prioritize profits by protecting their monopolies and driving up prices rather than prioritizing the lives of people everywhere, including in the Global South,” Sanders said in a video released Wednesday as part of a global virtual “Rally for a People’s Vaccine.”

“Our government has invested enormous sums of taxpayer dollars into the production of these technologies. All people should benefit, not just a few already obscenely wealthy CEOs and shareholders in the wealthiest country on Earth.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

In order to ramp up coronavirus vaccine production to meet global need and distribute doses “as quickly as humanly possible,” Sanders said “the United States should play a major role in promoting global cooperation and innovation.” At present, the U.S.—along with other wealthy nations where major pharmaceutical companies are based—is blocking India and South Africa’s push for a patent waiver, which industry lobbying groups are mobilizing to crush.

“Our government has invested enormous sums of taxpayer dollars into the production of these technologies. All people should benefit, not just a few already obscenely wealthy CEOs and shareholders in the wealthiest country on Earth,” said the Vermont senator. “We need a People’s Vaccine, not a Profit Vaccine.”

Less than a week after the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), a leading industry lobbying organization, called on Biden to uphold U.S. opposition to the patent-waiver proposal, Sanders said Wednesday that he is sending a letter to the president demanding his support for the plan “so that we can rapidly expand supplies of vaccines” without the constraints imposed by pharma monopolies.

“Ending this pandemic requires collaboration, solidarity, and empathy. It requires a very different mindset—a mindset that puts people over profits at every turn,” Sanders said. “The pharmaceutical companies must not block this effort, and I join you in your request to temporarily waive WTO intellectual property protections on Covid-19 medical technologies during the pandemic.”

Watch:

Sanders’ remarks came ahead of a global “Free the Vaccine” day of action Thursday wherein medical professionals, scientists, and progressive activists are planning to rally at Moderna headquarters in Massachusetts, PhRMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., Pfizer headquarters in New York City, and other locations to pressure Biden to support the proposed intellectual property waiver. A WTO council is meeting to discuss the proposal this week.

Without ambitious action to free vaccine recipes from the pharmaceutical industry’s stranglehold, activists and experts have warned, most poor nations will not achieve sufficient inoculation against the deadly virus until as late as 2024 as rich countries continue to hoard much of the existing supply.

According to a new analysis by the International Rescue Committee, excess vaccine doses bought up by the U.S., United Kingdom, and European Union could inoculate every adult in Yemen, Ethiopia, and other nations facing horrific humanitarian crises.

“Around the world, two and a half million lives have already been lost due to this brutal disease and many countries are battling without adequate medical care and no vaccines,” Gabriela Bucher, executive director of Oxfam International, said in a statement Wednesday. “By allowing a small group of pharmaceutical companies to decide who lives and who dies, rich nations are prolonging this unprecedented global health emergency and putting countless more lives on the line.”

“At this crucial time,” said Bucher, “developing countries need support—not opposition.”

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Comments

  • kamtanblog  On 03/12/2021 at 3:47 am

    Partly agree with suggestions of exemption of WTO rules on vaccines.
    Will take it further by suggesting tax and tariffs also removed. Most of the export/import of vaccines will be traded in USD$ ….worlds trusted reserve currency which replaced “gold standard”. It’s good to see USA taking a leading roll in this WHO initiative. Let’s hope vaccines replaces $ as world aid…at an exchange rate of
    $ = 1????
    One dose price tag is $19.50 per vaccine

    Do the maths “unaffordable” for MOW (most of world) …
    not holding my breadth !

    We shall c

    K

  • brandli62  On 03/12/2021 at 2:19 pm

    J&J will be $10 per dose. One dose only required plus storage in the refrigerator.

  • brandli62  On 03/12/2021 at 2:20 pm

    P.S. Bernie Sanders is completely clueless about vaccine development and the financial risks involved…..

    • Brother Man  On 03/13/2021 at 7:05 am

      Bernie Sanders is not clueless. He’s advocating for the big pharmaceutical companies to put lives ahead of profit. He wants to see red tapes removed whereby the production and distribution of vaccines are decentralized so that they can be manufactured across the globe to not only save lives but to speed up the inoculation of the world and put an end to the pandemic more quickly.

      I fail to see how Bernie is clueless in his effort to remove red tapes. Perhaps you are the one who is clueless.

      Brother Man

      • brandli62  On 03/13/2021 at 7:19 am

        “The production and distribution of vaccines are decentralized”. Just to pick up on this point. This is already done. Moderna is producing in the US and Switzerland and packaging is happing in Spain. BioNTech is producing in Germany, the US, and Switzerland, just to mention a few places. AstraZeneca’ vaccine is being produce in the UK, US, Italy, Belgium und India. J&J is producing in the US, UK, and in the EU. Importantly, this is has happened just less than a year after the pandemic has been declared. Do you need more examples disproving Bernie Sanders false claims?

      • Brother Man  On 03/13/2021 at 7:30 am

        I suggest you reread the article.

        Brother Man

  • wally n  On 03/12/2021 at 3:14 pm

    “Bernie Sanders is completely clueless about” everything …..EXCEPT!! EXCEPT!!
    beach houses and sport cars.
    These people are useless, but with a huge platform.

  • Dennis Albert  On 03/13/2021 at 11:25 am

    Speaking of allegations of Sanders being “Communistic” why is it that those who work as salaried employees are forced to pay more taxes per capita, than the few wealthy families in Guyana who pay little or no taxes due to tax loopholes?

    Forget about Exxon: There are billionaire families in Guyana who own dem ten storey buildings and Italian sportcars who DO NOT PAY TAXES.

    America’s health industry is a huge billion dollar industry, but healthcare costs in India and Thailand are cheaper and better than America’s on a cost basis, i.e. you get more bang for your dollar seeking healthcare in India or Thailand.

    America is also declining as an empire because while India and the Oriental Empire are advancing on medical care, the main agenda in America is for doctors and nurses to have their rights to take nude pics and post sex tapes on Instagram, TikTok and OnlyFans.

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