Statement by Dr. Tom Frieden on the Biden Administration’s Announcement to Donate COVID-19 Vaccines

Prevent Epidemics May 17, 2021

Statement by Dr. Tom Frieden, President and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, an initiative of Vital Strategies, on the Biden Administration’s Announcement to Donate COVID-19 Vaccines and Support Increased Manufacturing Capacity: 

“Today’s announcement by the Biden Administration that it will donate 80 million vaccine doses to countries around the world is another step toward ending the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s crucial that vaccines are used swiftly and strategically—directed toward people at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19, particularly health workers and people 60 and over.

“Even more important, the Biden Administration has indicated their commitment to increasing global vaccine supply, which include supply chains, technology transfer, and involvement of both the private sector and governments. In the coming days and weeks, the details of what is done to ensure that companies participate fully in transferring technologies—including those bought and paid for by U.S. taxpayers—will be of the utmost importance.

“COVID-19 has shown the world that we are all joined by our humanity; uncontrolled spread of the virus anywhere in the world is a threat to people everywhere. While the United States continues to vaccinate millions of people every day, many countries could lack adequate access to vaccines for a year or more. Vaccine inequity is a serious problem, both ethically and epidemiologically.

“With this announcement, the United States can strengthen its position as a leader in global health security and diplomacy by promoting the transfer of vaccine technology, building regional mRNA vaccination hubs, and investing in pandemic preparedness. Until we speed the production and administration of vaccines globally, the United States and the world will remain at risk.”