As it stands, 30 countries have not received a single vaccine dose. Roughly 90m vaccine doses expected to be distributed through Covax, the global alliance to distribute vaccines to poor countries, have been delayed through March and April by a Covid-19 outbreak in India. In Europe, rising Covid-19 cases and a slow vaccination campaign have also prompted vaccine export controls.
Beyond existing vaccine supply, many activists see a bigger fight in patent laws, and are drawing on experience advocating for greater access to antiretroviral drugs for HIV.
“More is possible than we believe,” said Maybarduk. “It was assumed Aids drugs could not be produced for less than $10,000 per person per year, right up until the moment they could, and they were produced for $1 per person per day.”
Similarly, Maybarduk said the technology for Covid-19 vaccines, along with other supplies, should be shared among the countries of the world. Activists have used Moderna as a key example of the leverage the US government might have, if it chose to use it.