Biden official warns Moderna to 'step up' vaccine doses for the world - News Primer
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
HomeHealth CareBiden official warns Moderna to 'step up' vaccine doses for the world

Biden official warns Moderna to ‘step up’ vaccine doses for the world

A senior Biden administration official on Wednesday warned Moderna to “step up” and provide more doses of vaccines to the world amid pressure on the White House to take more decisive action.

David Kessler, scientific director of the White House COVID-19 response team, revealed during a panel discussion that administration officials have met with Moderna’s board of directors in “the past few days” and called for further steps to the company to provide dosage. for the world through the COVAX organization, supported by the World Health Organization.

He said the administration is still awaiting a response from Moderna, but mentioned the possibility that the administration could use its authorities to force the company to take further action, although it said no decision had been made.

“We have been in very, very intense discussions with Moderna,” Kessler said. “There is very substantial capacity through 2022 for them to close and indeed even bridge the COVAX gap, and they must.”

Much of the discussion centered on Moderna, which received significant government funding and assistance for the development of its vaccine, but Kessler also mentioned that Johnson & Johnson could have room to increase its capacity in the coming months as well. Pfizer has reached an agreement with the US government to provide 500 million doses to donate to the world.

“Don’t underestimate the determination of the United States government in addressing this issue,” Kessler said. “I think these companies understand our authorities and understand that we would not be afraid to use them, but the best resource right now is for them to take the initiative.”

Some experts have called on the Biden administration to use the authorities under the Defense Production Act to force vaccine manufacturers to share their knowledge with other countries to boost manufacturing.

Kessler’s comments acknowledging those authorities are some of the strongest the administration has made publicly on the subject.

Kessler made the remarks while participating in a panel organized by the Yale Law School Law and Political Economy Project.

Other panelists included activists who have been lobbying the Biden administration for months to take more action on global vaccines, and the discussion turned tense at times as activists pressed Kessler to take more action.

Activists want the administration to use its authorities to force vaccine manufacturers to take action, saying months of seeking voluntary measures have not worked as thousands of people die every day from COVID-19 around the world.

James Krellenstein, co-founder of the PrEP4All group, said he had not heard of any “concrete” action from Kessler.

“We need the US government to take over,” added Zain Rizvi of the progressive group Public Citizen.

Responding to the claim that the administration had used a “light touch” with the vaccine manufacturers, Kessler responded, “This has been anything but a light touch, let me assure you.”

After meeting with Moderna about further steps for global vaccines, Kessler said: “The US government has yet to make a decision on what it would do, depending on what the answer is, but we are waiting for an answer.”

Kessler did not detail the administration’s request to Moderna, but said “several billion” doses are needed for the world in the short term.

Kessler said vaccine manufacturers have been reluctant to share their valuable and up-front information on how to make their vaccines.

“Make no mistake, at the end of the day, this knowledge is an asset for these companies that are reluctant to quit,” he said.

Experts warn that without vaccinating the world, the virus has a better chance of developing new variants that could evade the protection of current vaccines.

A group of Democratic lawmakers also called Wednesday for the Biden administration to take more action with Moderna.

Moderna did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Kessler’s comments.

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