Health GAP's Emily Sanderson sent me an invitation to the People's Shareholder Meeting outside the Pfizer Headquarters:
“Pfizer has spent the past year making billions of dollars in profits while people are still dying from COVID. Of an estimated 700 million coronavirus vaccine doses that have been administered across the globe, just 0.2% have gone to people in low-income nations, and many low-income countries are facing the reality of waiting until 2024 for vaccine access because of manufactured scarcity.
Governments and corporations continue to hold the value of COVID patents above people's lives, but no one is safe until we are all safe. While Pfizer and other pharmaceutical corporations hold on tight to the COVID patents, President Biden could free the vaccine and make it available in poor countries faster and at no cost to the U.S by saying YES to the TRIPS Waiver. The TRIPS Waiver will temporarily waive all COVID vaccine patents until the pandemic is over.
On the same day Pfizer hosts their annual shareholder meeting, we are organizing the People's Shareholder Meeting outside their Manhattan offices.
Speakers from a range of global action groups, including Health GAP, Center for Popular Democracy, and ACT UP NY spoke about the need to get everyone the vaccine as fast as possible, breaking pattens as Brazil did. With twin mental and public health crises, global health depends upon it.
Jason of ACT UP put it:
“Hi my name is Jason Rosenberg. I use he/him pronouns and I am an ACT UP NY and Reclaim Pride member. I am speaking to you all today as a family member in rage. As someone who had to watch their uncle die and be buried in isolation. As someone who watched their loved one time and time again be failed and neglected by the state. My uncle Richard Rosenberg died of COVID-19 on April 2, 2020. He was a longtime survivor of HIV/AIDS that was displaced by the de Blasio administration under the Rivington House scandal and died in a nursing home in Harlem with no thanks to Governor Cuomo. As a family member of someone who died of COVID-19 I am scared and enraged that people in the global south won’t see a vaccine until 2024. Much like the HIV/AIDS epidemic, folks in the global south waited and waited for antiretrovirals in the late 90s/early 00s because of pharmaceutical greed. We cannot wait to see history repeat itself. President Biden, you made a campaign promise to share taxpayer-funded technology. Don’t break your promise. Pandemic profiteering has and will cost lives and must end now. When I say “What do we want?” you say “Vaccines for all”. “What do we want?” “Vaccines for all.” “When do we want it?” “Now!