In response to the announcement that AstraZeneca is to move away from the non-profit model for COVID vaccines, Anna Marriott, Oxfam’s Health Policy Manager and spokesperson for the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said:
“AstraZeneca is breaking its repeated and celebrated public promises of a non-profit vaccine for all countries for the duration of this pandemic and to never to make a profit in any low- and middle-income country from this publicly funded vaccine. It is turning its back on these commitments at a time when the pandemic still rages and 98 per cent of people in the poorest countries are not yet fully vaccinated.
“While AstraZeneca has said the vaccine will remain non-profit for developing nations, we understand that 75 middle-income countries including Indonesia, The Philippines, South Africa and Zimbabwe are excluded from their commitment. AstraZeneca must immediately and unequivocally confirm that it will not profit from any sales of the vaccine for any low or middle-income country whether via bilateral deals or COVAX.
“With the number of people dying from COVID-19 rapidly rising above five million and given the development of this vaccine was 97 per cent funded by taxpayers and charities there can be no justification for this decision.
“It is time for the Oxford University to partner with the World Health Organisation so that this life-saving publicly funded vaccine technology can be shared as a global public good and produced by as many capable manufacturers around the world as possible.
“Broken promises from pharmaceutical corporations and rich country governments have been an enduring theme of this pandemic when it comes to vaccine access. This is a further example of why the UK government can no longer defend the pharmaceutical monopolies driving today’s vaccine apartheid. It must immediately join over 100 countries including President Biden in supporting a temporary suspension of intellectual property for Covid-19 vaccines, tests and treatments so that everybody can be protected.”