Washington (November 18, 2021) - Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), — Co-Chairs of the COVID-19 Global Vaccination Caucus —and Representatives Tom Malinowski (NJ-07), Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-08), Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), Jake Auchincloss (MA-04), and Mark Pocan (WI-02) issued the following statement today in response to the administration’s plans to fund an expansion of domestic production capacity for vaccines targeting COVID-19 and future global public health threats.
“We welcome the administration’s announcement of plans to expand US production capacity of COVID-19 vaccines for distribution to low-income countries, as we have been urging for the last several months, and we look forward to learning more details about the proposed public-private partnership. We remain concerned that a failure to urgently ramp up production capacity for global vaccination will hinder our ability to prevent future variants from threatening lives and economic recovery around the world. Further, we believe the United States should be doing more than what would normally be considered our ‘fair share’ in leading the world out of the pandemic.
While we appreciate that key American manufacturers have dramatically expanded production, with 2022 vaccine production capacity set to far outpace 2021, the administration’s new vision will require that companies engage even more aggressively to meet these objectives. Furthermore, we would like to see investments in manufacturing capacity in low and middle-income countries. Diversifying vaccine production is not only crucial to ensure stable supplies during global crises, but also to make vaccine access more equitable in the medium and long-term.
Finally, we urge the White House to support the $1.3 billion that we have worked to secure in the House’s draft Build Back Better package for purposes including ‘expanded global and domestic vaccine production capacity.’ While a lower amount than we had sought over the past year, these funds nevertheless represent a substantial down payment. We call on the President to work with Congress to determine what additional funds may be needed to meet his goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the world's population in the fastest possible time, so that we may put the pandemic, and the suffering and economic disruptions it has caused, behind us for good."