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Oxfam media reaction to Pfizer/BioNTech deal to produce COVID vaccines in South Africa

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In response to the announcement that Pfizer/BioNTech will start to manufacture vaccines under license via a South African manufacturer, with the aim of producing 100 million doses for distribution exclusively in Africa – the first of which will be produced in 2022 – Robbie Silverman, Oxfam America’s Senior Advocacy Manager and spokesperson for the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said:

“While this announcement is good news, it is simply not enough. To date, Pfizer have sold over 90 per cent of their vaccines to rich nations only, while doctors and nurses are dying daily all over the developing world. Africa is facing a shortfall of hundreds of millions of vaccines now and these South African made doses won’t start to be available until next year.

“This also proves that the argument pharmaceutical companies have consistently made about developing countries not having the capacity or skills to be able to make vaccines is a myth.

“Charity and largely symbolic measures by corporations will not deliver vaccines for everyone, everywhere. Only by sharing the technology and dramatically increasing manufacturing around the world, will we be able to finally gain the upper hand on the pandemic.”

Ends

Notes to editors:

Oxfam is part of the People’s Vaccine Alliance, a coalition of nearly 70 organisations demanding that COVID-19 vaccines are manufactured rapidly and at scale, as global common goods, free of intellectual property protections and made available to all people, in all countries, free of charge.