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COVAX

A shipment of coronavirus vaccines provided by the COVAX initiative is received by local officials at Khartoum International Airport in Sudan on August 5, 2021. (Photo: Ebrahim Hamid/AFP via Getty Images)

Most Americans Favor Investing in Global Covid-19 Vaccine Production: Poll

"The American public overwhelmingly supports doing what's right and necessary: Massively ramping up coronavirus vaccine production so that everyone on the planet can be vaccinated."

Brett Wilkins

As the Delta variant drives a worrying surge in Covid-19 cases around the world, over three-quarters of American voters say they're concerned about global vaccine inequality, while nearly 70% want the U.S. government to invest in a global vaccine manufacturing program.

"Americans understand that ending the pandemic anywhere means ending it everywhere."
—Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi

That's according to a new poll (pdf) of likely 2022 voters, published Thursday by Public Citizen and Lake Research Partners, which found that 78% of respondents—including 93% of Democrats and about two-thirds of Independents and Republicans—are "concerned about people who live in less wealthy countries not being able to get vaccinated."

An overwhelming number of surveyed voters—88% of Democrats, 79% of Independents, and 75% of Republicans—believe it is important that nations around the world have access to Covid-19 vaccines so that they can quickly and efficiently inoculate their populations.

Three-quarters of poll respondents said they agree that worldwide vaccination rates impact the safety of Americans, with 69% saying they favor the U.S. government investing in a program that would involve ramping up production of Covid-19 vaccines in the United States and in international manufacturing centers.

Half of those surveyed strongly support such a program. Among Democrats, support soars to 86%, while 61% of Independents and 54% of GOP voters favor the investment.

Additionally, nearly three-quarters of those polled said they support urging pharmaceutical companies to share vaccine development knowledge and technology with other nations in exchange for reasonable compensation.

"The American public overwhelmingly supports doing what's right and necessary: Massively ramping up coronavirus vaccine production so that everyone on the planet can be vaccinated," Public Citizen president Robert Weissman said in a statement.

"That's a humanitarian imperative as the disease spreads faster and faster among low-vaccinated low- and middle-income countries," Weissman added. "It's also a requirement even to end the pandemic in the U.S.; as the Delta variant illustrates, so long as huge portions of the world's population are unvaccinated, we face the prospect of new strains that will inevitably make their way back to the U.S."

"The vast majority of Americans recognize that it's important that countries around the world have access to vaccines so they can vaccinate their citizens quickly and efficiently to save lives and prevent new variants from emerging."
—Krishnamoorthi

The polling results were revealed Thursday at a virtual press conference during which Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) discussed congressional efforts to boost global vaccine production, including the Nullifying Opportunities for Variants to Infect and Decimate (NOVID) Act (pdf). The proposed legislation would, according to lead sponsor Krishnamoorthi, "dramatically expand the nation's international coronavirus prevention and vaccination efforts to reduce the risk of more dangerous, new Covid-19 strains and additional domestic outbreaks."

Krishnamoorhti said Thursday that the new poll "demonstrates that Americans understand that ending the pandemic anywhere means ending it everywhere."

"The vast majority of Americans recognize that it's important that countries around the world have access to vaccines so they can vaccinate their citizens quickly and efficiently to save lives and prevent new variants from emerging," he added. "This poll demonstrates a clear public mandate from the American people for our government to act immediately to protect our own citizens and people across the world through an American-led global vaccination initiative."

The strong overall support among surveyed U.S. voters for global-minded efforts to combat Covid-19 is indicative of voters' fears about the future of the pandemic. More than four in five poll respondents said they agreed with the statement that "if Covid-19 is left unchecked around the world, strains will mutate and new variants will spread, continuing the pandemic and creating more severe consequences."

Seventy-nine percent of those polled agreed with the statement that these new strains could be "more resistant to existing vaccines" and "more dangerous and deadly for young people and children."

In February, Public Citizen found that a $25 billion investment in coronavirus vaccine production by the U.S. government would ensure everyone on the planet is inoculated in a timely fashion.

Only 1.3% of people in low-income countries have received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, while in many rich nations including the United States, over half the population is fully vaccinated, according to Our World in Data.

The new poll's publication came as experts warned that wealthy nations' push to administer coronavirus booster shots to their residents will exacerbate global inequities that have left billions of people in the Global South without access to any of the potentially lifesaving inoculations.


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