Five steps to urgently advance COVID-19 vaccine equity

Innovative vaccine manufacturers and biotech companies are at the forefront of the global effort to develop and manufacture COVID-19 vaccines. This massive effort is succeeding.

Manufacturers, governments, and non-governmental organizations must work together to take urgent steps to further address vaccine inequity. Immediate action must focus on stepping up responsible dose sharing and maximizing production without compromising quality or safety. Joint statement

After more than 200 clinical trials and nearly 300 partnerships and collaborations among manufacturers worldwide, production has increased, in just a few months from zero to 2.2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of May with an astounding estimate of 11 billion doses by the end of 2021. This will be enough doses to vaccinate the world’s adult population.

Critically, however, COVID-19 vaccines currently are not equally reaching all priority populations worldwide.

Manufacturers, governments, and non-governmental organizations must work together to take urgent steps to further address this inequity. Immediate action must focus on stepping up responsible dose sharing and maximizing production without compromising quality or safety.

To do so, innovative vaccine manufacturers and biotech companies commit to:

1. Step up dose sharing

  • Immediately work with governments that have significant domestic supplies of COVID-19 vaccine doses to share a meaningful proportion of their doses with low- and lower-middle-income countries in a responsible and timely way through COVAX or other efficient established mechanisms;
  • Expend every effort to make additional uncommitted COVID-19 vaccine doses available to low- and lower-middle-income countries, through COVAX or other efficient established mechanisms.

2. Continue to optimise production

  • Undertake all practicable efforts to maximize COVID-19 vaccine output without compromising safety and quality, including through additional collaborations with partners that can produce significant quantities;
  • Work with governments and individual suppliers of raw materials and components to determine how to quickly and safely facilitate scale-up needed for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing.

3. Call out trade barriers to be eliminated

  • Identify trade barriers for critical input materials and support Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations' (CEPI's) effort to create an independent platform that would identify and address gaps in these inputs and facilitate voluntary matchmaking for fill and finish capacity through the newly established COVAX Supply Chain and Manufacturing Task Force;
  • Urge governments, in coordination with the World Trade Organization (WTO), to eliminate all trade and regulatory barriers to export and to adopt policies that facilitate and expedite the cross-border supply of key raw materials, essential manufacturing materials, vaccines along with the prioritized movement of skilled workforce needed for COVID-19 vaccine manufacturing.

4. Support country readiness 

  • Partner with governments on COVID-19 vaccine deployment, particularly in low- and lower-middle-income countries, to ensure that they are ready and able to deploy available doses within their shelf-life;
  • Mitigate the risks to the production and deployment of other vaccines that remain vital to public health worldwide.

5. Drive further innovation

  • Prioritize the development of new COVID-19 vaccines, including vaccines effective against variants of concern;
  • Urge governments to guarantee unhindered access to pathogens (e.g. samples and sequences) of any COVID-19 variants to support the development of new vaccine and treatments.

This joint statement is signed by the ABPI, the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), the International Council of Biotechnology Associations (ICBA), the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (IFPMA), the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and Vaccines Europe. 

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  • COVID 19

The ABPI exists to make the UK the best place in the world to research, develop and use new medicines. We represent companies of all sizes who invest in discovering the medicines of the future. 

Our members supply cutting edge treatments that improve and save the lives of millions of people. We work in partnership with Government and the NHS so patients can get new treatments faster and the NHS can plan how much it spends on medicines. Every day, we partner with organisations in the life sciences community and beyond to transform lives across the UK.