House Democrats call on Biden to do ‘much more’ to vaccinate the world

More than 40 House Democrats on Friday wrote to President Biden calling for him to do “much more” to vaccinate the world against COVID-19.

The letter, first reported Thursday by CNN, comes a day after the White House announced a plan for sharing 25 million doses out of a pledged 80 million by the end of June with other countries.

The lawmakers praised this step, but said it is insufficient.

“We urge you to pursue additional steps to advance a bold, comprehensive strategy to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible,” the letter reads.

In addition to sharing doses that have already been made, the lawmakers said it is crucial to increase the supply of vaccines by providing more funding for manufacturing and to share the know-how for making the vaccines so that other countries can make them.

The lawmakers, led by Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Tom Malinowski (N.J.) and Raja Krishnamoorthi (Ill.), praised Biden for supporting a waiver for vaccine patents at the World Trade Organization and announcing a plan to donate the 80 million doses.

Additional steps the lawmakers want:

  • $25 billion in funding through the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority to oversee the production of 8 billion doses of vaccine, and an “immediate accounting” of the $16 billion remaining in American Rescue Plan funds for vaccine development.
  • They call for the administration to “use all available tools of U.S. influence, persuasion, diplomacy and legal authorities to facilitate the rapid and widespread transfer of technology and expansion of vaccine production.”