While welcoming reports that U.S. President Joe Biden will commit to donating 500 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to more than 100 countries over the coming year, activists and advocacy groups on Wednesday stressed that what the world truly needs is an urgent and ambitious plan to manufacture and distribute billions more doses of the life-saving inoculations.\r\n\r\nResponding to reports in the New York Times, Washington Post, and other outlets that Biden plans to donate 200 million doses of the two-shot Pfizer vaccine this year and 300 million more units in 2022 via the World Health Organization-led COVAX initiative, groups including Doctors Without Borders (MSF), Public Citizen, and Oxfam urged the U.S. and other nations to go even further in the face of severe vaccine shortages in much of the Global South.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nPeter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen\u0026#039;s Access to Medicines program, tweeted that next year is \u0022a long time to wait for far too few doses.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022The world needs urgent new manufacturing to produce billions more doses within a year, not just commitments to buy the planned inadequate supply,\u0022 Maybarduk said in a separate statement.\r\n\r\n\u0022We welcome this step from President Biden,\u0022 he continued. \u0022However, we have yet to see a plan from the U.S. government or the G7 of the needed ambition or urgency to make billions more doses and end the pandemic.\u0022\r\n\r\nNiko Lusiani, Oxfam America\u0026#039;s vaccine lead, said in a statement that \u0022it\u0026#039;s encouraging to see that in its quest to get America vaccinated, the Biden administration has not lost sight of the needs of those outside our borders.\u0022\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\n\u0022However, charity is not going win the war against the coronavirus,\u0022 Lusiani asserted. \u0022Surely, these 500 million vaccine doses are welcome as they will help more than 250 million people, but that\u0026#039;s still a drop in the bucket compared to the need across the world.\u0022\r\n\r\nLusiani continued:\r\n\r\n\r\nIt\u0026#039;s time to let the world help itself. Rather than more lucrative transactions with very profitable pharmaceutical corporations, we need a transformation toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers worldwide can produce billions more low-cost doses on their own terms, without intellectual property constraints.\r\n\r\nAhead of the G7 Summit, Oxfam called on President Biden to rally other G7 leaders around temporarily waiving restrictive intellectual property rules, mandating companies share their technology with the World Health Organization, and investing in global, distributed manufacturing to ensure that everyone, everywhere will have access to a Covid vaccine.\r\n\r\n\r\nIn the face of international pressure, Biden surprised many observers last month when he announced his support for waiving patent protections for Covid-19 vaccines and treatments. The president\u0026#039;s endorsement of a Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) waiver at the World Trade Organization (WTO)—originally proffered by India and South Africa—prompted other nations to reconsider their opposition to the proposal.\r\n\r\n\u0022At the current rate of vaccinations, it would take low-income countries 57 years to reach the same level of protection as those in G7 countries.\u0022 —Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America\r\n\r\nLast month, China said it would support a TRIPS waiver \u0022that is conducive to fair access to vaccines in developing countries.\u0022 On Wednesday, Oxfam France executive director Cécile Duflot said French President Emmanuel Macron is now committed to supporting waiving vaccine patents. Also on Wednesday, the WTO announced during its TRIPS Council meeting that member nations would begin formal text-based negotiations on a temporary waiver of coronavirus-related patents next week.\r\n\r\nHowever, nations including Germany, Japan, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom remain opposed to a TRIPS waiver, as does the European Union. The pharmaceutical industry is also working to thwart the waiver.\r\n\r\nLooking forward to the U.K.-led G7 leaders\u0026#039; summit set to begin on Friday, United Nations human rights experts on Wednesday called on leaders of the world\u0026#039;s leading economies to ensure people in developing countries get equal access to Covid-19 vaccines and treatments.\r\n\r\n\u0022Billions of people in the Global South are being left behind. They see vaccines as a mirage or a privilege for the developed world,\u0022 the experts said. \u0022This situation will unnecessarily prolong the crisis, drastically increase the death toll, and deepen economic distress, possibly sowing the seeds of social unrest.\u0022\r\n\r\n\u0022It is shocking that, according to WHO reports, less than 1% of all vaccines administered so far have gone to low-income countries,\u0022 they added.\r\n\r\n\r\n\r\nNoting that \u0022at the current rate of vaccinations, it would take low-income countries 57 years to reach the same level of protection as those in G7 countries,\u0022 Oxfam\u0026#039;s Lusiani said \u0022that\u0026#039;s not only morally wrong, it\u0026#039;s self-defeating given the risk posed by coronavirus mutations.\u0022\r\n\r\nAs Covid-19 continues to exact a heavy toll in countries including India and Brazil, health advocates underscored the need for immediate action.\r\n\r\n\u0022Billions of people awaiting a path out of the pandemic desperately need President Biden and other world leaders to find far greater ambition,\u0022 stressed Public Citizen\u0026#039;s Maybarduk.