Latest Covid-19 booster news and vaccine mandates
Information about Latest Covid-19 booster news and vaccine mandates
The Biden administration’s top scientist focused on the Covid-19 pandemic sought to ratchet up pressure on Moderna, saying the pharmaceutical giant needs to “step up” to provide more of its Covid-19 vaccine to the world in the urgent race to get the pandemic under control.
“We expect that Moderna will step up as a company. We expect – we have asked them, they need to step up as a company and join other companies, such as Pfizer, and provide COVAX (the global vaccine sharing program) with doses for the AMC92 (the Advance Market Commitment for 92 low and middle income countries) at not for profit prices at a quantity substantial doses that will help close that gap,” chief science officer of the White House Covid-19 response team Dr. David Kessler said in a panel with the Law and Political Economy Project on vaccinating the world Wednesday.
He continued, “There is very substantial additional capacity at Moderna that has been invested in. Now the question is to get that commitment done at a not-for-profit price and in substantial quantities, as a failure to do that would be unconscionable, in my view.”
Kessler said the administration has met with multiple leaders at Moderna “in recent days” on the matter.
���We can’t wait. We don’t have months to wait. I think that we have called the question, we have met, I’ll say it here, we have met with members of the board of Moderna, not just the CEO, we met with the chair of Moderna, members of the board in recent days. They understand what we expect to happen,” he said.
The US government, he said, “has not made a decision yet on, you know, what it would do, depending on what the answer is, but we are awaiting the answer… but I can assure you there is full resolve on everyone in the administration to bringing doses to low and middle income countries as soon as possible.”
He praised Pfizer for its “track record” and said he had “no doubt” that the company would deliver on its own commitments to sharing vaccines globally at cost.
But he was much less confident in Moderna, adding, “Moderna can speak for itself. We’ve been in very, very intense discussions with Moderna.”
Pressed by the panel’s moderator on why the administration is not exerting more leverage over Moderna, Kessler warned, “I think these companies understand our authorities, and understand that we would not be afraid to use them. But the best recourse right now is for them to step up to the plate now, and make sure they provide COVAX at not-for-profit prices as substantial basis to close that gap.”
Kessler pointed to a “specific request” from the US government to do so, and said, “They understand our authorities.”