Activists from around the U.S. descended on Johnson & Johnson’s New Jersey headquarters on Sep. 22 to demand that the pharmaceutical giant halt its ‘pandemic profiteering’ and share its vaccine know-how to increase production worldwide.
J&J recently drew criticism for shipping its one-shot COVID-19 vaccine from a fill-and-finish facility in South Africa to Europe when less than 4% of Africans are fully vaccinated. An Indian drug company is slated to produce a reported 600 million doses at a similar completion facility, with no indication where those vaccines will go after production. J&J has also stated it plans to end nonprofit pricing for its shot by the end of 2021.
“After nearly two years into a global pandemic, it’s time these pharmaceutical companies donate vaccines and the know-how to produce more to help end this crisis!” Dr. V. Sam Prasad, Country Program Director for AHF India Cares. “This greed is why AHF was proud to join the Indian Civil Society call for Johnson & Johnson to do the right thing and was honored to hand over the signed letter during the protest. J&J’s vaccines produced in India should be for India, Africa, and other resource-poor countries truly in need. Vaccine makers must stop profiting from a global public health disaster and do their part to vaccinate our world.”
The open letter that advocates delivered to J&J staff on Wednesday was signed by more than a dozen Indian Civil Society organizations and endorsed by AHF. They demanded that the 600 million doses currently being completed in India go where they are needed most, not to the U.S. or European Union.
The protest at J&J’s headquarters was the most recent “Vaccinate Our World” (VOW) demonstration, which followed two recent similar actions at the headquarter offices of COVID-19 vaccine makers Pfizer and Moderna. Along with J&J, these drug companies continue selfishly hoarding vaccine technology when taxpayers were the primary funders for the lifesaving doses.
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