Report: 22 Billion mRNA Vaccines Needed to Control COVID-19

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PIH experts publish report with PrEP4All, scientists calling for mass production of mRNA vaccines

Posted on Jan 16, 2022

Health care worker inoculates a man with a COVID-19 vaccine in May 2021. (Photo by Scott McIntyre for PIH)

The world needs 22 billion more mRNA vaccines to bring COVID-19 under control, according to a new report from experts at Partners In Health and PrEP4All and scientists from four universities.

The report, published on January 5, comes as the highly contagious Omicron variant surges worldwide, filling hospital beds and leading to critical staff shortages. Canada reported 19,360 thousand new COVID-19 infections on January 16. Globally, COVID-19 cases have surpassed 300 million.

Even as Omicron surges, billions of people worldwide have yet to receive their first dose of any vaccine—much less, of an mRNA vaccine.

“The scientific evidence is clear,” the report states. “Only by universally deploying the vaccines currently most effective against infection—which for now appear to be mRNA vaccines—will we be able to blunt the virus’ evolution and begin to bring the pandemic under control globally.”

Two mRNA vaccines are among the only widely used vaccines that offer significant protection against Omicron infection, according to existing research. While non-mRNA vaccines will still likely protect individuals from hospitalization, protection from Omicron infection is essential to bringing the pandemic under control globally and preventing the emergence of new variants.

Without mass production of mRNA vaccines, the report warns, global vaccine inequity will only persist through 2022, with people in wealthy nations triple or quadruple vaccinated with the world’s most effective vaccines, while people in low- and middle-income countries are left with limited access to vaccines at all, much less access to mRNA vaccines.

Vaccinating The World

Ramping up vaccine production is no small task—but it is completely achievable, according to the report. And it requires the Canadian government to take action.

We mirror the report’s call to action – and call upon the Canadian government to immediately endorse the TRIPS waiver and support the scaling-up of mRNA vaccine production to 15 billion doses per year—starting in 2022 as a matter of national security and international human rights.

While U.S.-based drug-makers Pfizer and Moderna have claimed they will make a combined total of 7 billion mRNA vaccine doses in 2022, neither met their 2021 projections. At this level, the report asserts, the world will face a shortfall of 15 billion doses this year.

Even though Canada does not have the current capacity for domestic vaccine manufacturing, we can still do our part to demand the temporary suspension of COVID-19 patent rights and encourage a more equitable pandemic response to prioritize global access over profit.

The report was clear: To bring COVID-19 under control, a total of 22 billion doses will be needed—an estimated 10.5 billion doses for those in need of boosters and another 11.5 billion doses for those who have yet to finish their primary vaccination series.

“There is every reason to believe this approach…can be used to expeditiously manufacture the number of COVID-19 vaccines the world needs to end the most severe public health threat and biosecurity crisis in a century,” the report states.

Originally published on pih.org

Canada must do better in standing up for vaccine access for all; Partners In Health Canada calls for COVID-19 vaccine equity as a fundamental human right. Read more here.

Every person, no matter who they are or where they’re from, deserves the best health care we know how to offer.

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