WASHINGTON — Representative Pramila Jayapal (WA-07), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, issued the following statement after President Joe Biden announced that the U.S. would send an additional 20 million doses of FDA-authorized COVID-19 vaccines abroad by the end of June:
“To end a global pandemic, we need global solutions. That is why the Congressional Progressive Caucus has been urging President Biden to release some of our stockpile of unused COVID-19 vaccines to countries around the world, approve requests for raw vaccine materials, and support a resolution at the WTO to waive patent protections so we finally put people’s lives over pharmaceutical profits.
“The Biden administration’s willingness to heed our call on each of these lifesaving requests is a significant step in the right direction — but it is not yet sufficient. To truly address the scale of the global crisis, we must work quickly and deploy every tool in our arsenal. Specifically, this should include continuing to release more of our stockpile — immediately investing an additional $25 billion to manufacture vaccines domestically and provide them to the world.
“We must also leverage U.S. patent ownership over vaccine innovations to license their widespread production while cooperating with the World Health Organization’s program to transfer vaccine technology to global producers. Additionally, we should support a new issuance of Special Drawing Rights, a cost-free IMF reserve asset, to strengthen public-health budgets worldwide and assist low-income countries in carrying out vaccination campaigns.
“The Progressive Caucus is ready to partner with this administration on additional measures to achieve our shared goal of a rapid and equitable global vaccination program. Now is the time to build international cooperation and solidarity in ways we have never seen before, including using the full force of U.S. membership in multilateral institutions. It is clearer than ever that the fate of our own health and safety in the U.S. is inextricably connected to the wellbeing and protection of the most vulnerable among us worldwide. With cases and deaths on the rise around the world, there is no time — or resource — to waste.”