A coalition of groups are calling on johnson and johnson to stop exporting indian made vaccines to wealthy nations like the united states, at a time when hundreds of millions of people remain unvaccinated in india. As well as in africa, the groups are also urging president biden to force johnson and johnson to license its vaccine to drug manufacturers in india and other nations to help produce more vaccines. We go now to bangalore india, where were joined by achill prabhala. He is a coordinator of access, ipsa project which campaigns for access to medicines in india, brazil and south africa. Welcome back to democracy now at chell. If you can start off by laying out your demand. Thank you amy its lovely to be here uh, a group of us from civil society over a dozen organizations in india drafted a letter uh very recently to johnson johnson and the biden administration, with a very simple demand, which is that the 600 billion doses that johnson Johnson is manufacturing currently at a company called biological e in india should go where the vaccines are most needed, which is the indian subcontinent, the african continent and the kovacs facility, rather than where johnson johnson most wants to send them to which, on the basis of recent History and the companys experience in south africa is europe and the united states, where it has large unfulfilled orders which are quite lucrative, which it seems uh in an unseemly manner, uh eager to supply and and a child as it stands now, jnj has only one partnership With an indian company but uh while pfizer and moderna have none in india, south south america or africa, explain why the pharmaceutical companies are reluctant to establish such partnerships.
There is a curious difference in the way that johnson johnson is licensing its vaccine around the world. What theyre doing is to provide whats called contract manufacturing? They are farming out the production of their vaccine to other companies, but they retain control of where those vaccine doses go. So this is a little unlike astrazenecas contracts with the serum institute in india, which was supposed to be the engine for the kovacs facility, the global philanthropy that was going to distribute vaccines to the poorest countries in the world. The johnson and johnson contracts, with biologically in india and aspen pharmacare in south africa, are really under the control of johnson and johnson. They decide who they should go to, and these vaccine contracts were signed in 2020 when the pandemic was in a different state. When these vaccines were merely hypothetical, the problem with the way johnson johnson is now enforcing. These contracts is in september 2021, which is a very different world, where a majority of the adults in the united states and europe have been vaccinated where by no means the majority or anything close to that have been vaccinated in the african continent or india. Johnson johnson believes it still has the right to send vaccines where it wants to rather than where it has to and where the vaccines are most needed. Now, of course, pfizer and modena dont have production facilities here, but the fact is that they are outsourcing their vaccine production to facilities in europe and in other parts of north america.
But the truth is that johnson and johnson, pfizer and modena are offer peace. What theyre doing is to say, were not going to provide access. Contracts were not going to provide licensed manufacturer of our vaccine to anyone in order for them to be able to supply the regions that theyre in were just going to make the largest number of vaccines. That we can under our control and then send them where we want now. The irony of this is that, unlike physical and moderna, whose vaccines remain robustly desirable in the united states and europe, the johnson johnson vaccine, in fact, is not theres poll after poll. That shows that its the least desirable vaccine, among ordinary americans, for instance, and its not like there is surging demand for the vaccine in europe either so its a bit of a conundrum, because, with the johnson johnson vaccine, no one seems to want it in the united States, no, it doesnt seem to be able to make its own vaccine. It supplied less than 10 percent of what it was supposed to to the u.s. It supplied under 25 percent of what it was supposed to to europe and yet, at the same time there are studies from south africa now that show that the vaccine adequately does its job in protecting people against hospitalization and death and even transmission. So there are lots of people in a majority of the world who would love to have the jnj vaccine, except they cant, and so i think its a particularly absurd situation that johnson and johnson would choose to make vaccines in a part of the world that desperately Needs them and then send them to another part of the world that not only doesnt need them, but doesnt seem to want them.
Um just put this in human terms, who gets the vaccine, who has access to it? The percentages that were talking about in africa in asia compared to the united states and britain, where theyve already started the booster on a mass scale. The third shot theres something astonishing about september 2021, because now well be nearing 10 months into a world in which vaccines exist and were available. And yet the death toll remains 10 000 people a day and thats, largely because less than three percent of the population of the african continent has been vaccinated. Less than 15 percent of the indian population has been vaccinated, while between 50 to 70 percent of the adults. In the united states and europe have been vaccinated, so what were looking at is a world in which the pandemic is under control, with occasional flare ups and alarms and problems around mass vaccination, but nevertheless relatively under control in the u.s and europe and absolutely not under Any kind of control in a majority of the world where the majority of the worlds population lives in such a situation. What johnson johnson did in south africa, which it had to backtrack on, which was to send 300 million doses, which could have vaccinated 300 million people? Because the johnson johnson vaccine is single dose to send those vaccines to europe in majority was a mistake. They were called out. People were outraged and they backtracked, but now theyre set to repeat exactly the same action with vaccines for 600 million people in india and the the absurdity of the situation and the inability of johnson and johnson to see how absurd it is, i think, is astonishing, but Whats, worse is actually that we have now, thanks to the russians and thanks to the sputnik v vaccine, which showed good efficacy.
We have 10 seconds, unfortunately, has run into production problems. We have 34 manufacturers around the world who can produce the johnson johnson vaccine, and so what they should do is to expand their manufacturing to include these manufacturers. Then we could actually make that vaccine work in the world. It would be good for them.