September 30, 2021
Washington, D.C. — Today, Faculty Director Lawrence Gostin and Global Health Justice Scholar Eric A. Friedman joined former CDC Director Tom Frieden, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health Dean Michelle A. Williams, National Academy of Medicine President Victor J. Dzau, and other premiere health experts to send letters to President Biden and Congress, urging U.S. leadership for global COVID-19 vaccinations.
“President Biden’s plan at the Global COVID-19 Summit is a step forward, but it doesn’t go far enough. The U.S. must take the critical steps raised in this letter if we truly want to vaccinate the world as soon as possible. Not only is this our moral and ethical responsibility, but this is also the only way we can protect the world against more dangerous variants,” said Lawrence Gostin, faculty director of the O’Neill Institute. “Charitable donations will never be enough to vaccinate the world. We need to give countries the power to make their own vaccines. That will end this pandemic sooner and also prevent the next one.”
The signatories urge leaders to take more ambitious actions to meet and exceed the agreed global targets from the Global COVID-19 Summit. They offer a comprehensive plan that goes further than vaccine donations, including large-scale investment in global vaccine production and urgent funding from Congress.
High-income countries have drastically outpaced low-income countries in their vaccination rates — exacerbating global inequities and prolonging the global pandemic. Renewed vaccination for everyone in the U.S. and around the world will remedy these gaps and prevent future death.
“What we need now is a comprehensive plan that meets the moment — one that includes U.S. leadership and urgent action on a shared, equitable vaccination strategy to get doses where most urgently needed and robust support for vaccine delivery infrastructure, with Congress urgently appropriating the needed funding,” stated Eric Friedman, global health justice scholar of the O’Neill Institute. “We must act now with all tools in our vaccine arsenal. We cannot let this moral travesty of vast inequitable distribution of life itself persist.”