Secret contracts mean millions will lose out on adequate vaccine protection in future pandemics

Call for ‘action on redaction’ marks COVID-19 vaccine anniversary.

Placing a requirement on nations to make vaccine contracts fully transparent is “critical” to the success of future pandemic responses, Transparency International Global Health said today.

Disease outbreaks ranging from Avian Flu in the UK to Ebola in Uganda have kept health systems on high alert this year. Mpox was declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation in July.

Transparency International Global Health today publishes new recommendations on vaccine procurement following a global analysis of how supplies were purchased by governments around the world when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic.

Secrets Contracts: Action to prevent further vaccine inequity, released on the second anniversary of the first clinically-approved COVID-19 vaccine, shows how opacity and secrecy in contracts hampered global access to vaccines, particularly to the detriment of low-income countries.

Transparency International’s research found that more than half of contracts signed with pharmaceutical companies lacked basic information, such as price paid per dose, and significant discrepancies in prices paid per dose where information was available. Price ranging between $7 and $40 per dose were found to have been paid for the Moderna vaccine.

Jonathan Cushing, Director of Transparency International Global Health, said: “Secretive procurement processes will yet again prevent adequate and equitable protection for millions around the world if we don’t take action now.

“The next global pandemic could happen sooner than many anticipate considering the current outbreaks of disease in various parts of the world and, with it, the need for new vaccines.

“Critical information is too often kept secret in contracts between pharmaceutical companies and governments. It must be published in the public interest.

“Contractual transparency must be an integral part of the planned agreement on pandemic preparedness and response currently being negotiated between nations.”

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