Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!

by Universities Allied for Essential Medicines Corp
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Free the Vaccine for Covid-19!
Lemonade stand! Tayyiaba (Left) & Maanasa (Right)
Lemonade stand! Tayyiaba (Left) & Maanasa (Right)

Sharing a brief update on our Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign for globally accessible Covid vaccines and treatments.

Our Free the Vaccine campaign Season five took place during the Summer of 2022, bringing together a team of global, experienced activists to design actions around the UN General Assembly in September 2022. We held two calls weekly with participants to brainstorm, design, and plan as well as weekly organizer calls with leadership to guide the team. We worked with two overarching goals: to make COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines, sustainably priced, available to all, and free at the point of delivery and to grow the access to medicines movement. 

But to get there, let’s take it back to the beginning. As of July 2022: 51% of people in high income countries had access to COVID-19 vaccines; as did 31% of people in upper-middle income countries; 14% of people in lower-middle income countries, and just 1% of people in low income countries. Vaccine inequity is running rampant, even as high income countries like the United States boldly proclaim that the “pandemic is over.”

We began our season by learning about the ongoing inequities in vaccine access, and left the season’s participants with a key question:

SO WHAT ARE WE GONNA DO ABOUT IT?

That’s where our Free the Vaccine missions come in. Each week, our participants meet to complete a mission - one week the mission is to make a message, the next week it might be to design a flyer. 

Three actions were planned and executed. Firstly, our lemonade stand was an in-person interactive and engaging action to educate the public and spread awareness of vaccine apartheid. We set up a lemonade stand offering a chance at free lemonade. Participants spun a wheel with different countries, and they would receive or not receive lemonade based on what country they landed in. This mimicked global vaccine access or lack thereof in different countries. We did two iterations of this action on September 23 and September 24, and we were successful in engaging the public. Secondly, we designed a Wordle ("We Don't Talk About Covid") graphic to be projected onto a building in New York City in a high-trafficked area. We recruited a projection team to help us successfully execute this action on September 21st. Lastly, we are in the process of creating a parody video of the popular song from Encanto ("We Don't Talk About Bruno") named "We Don't Talk About Covid."

We have had a busy summer of actions and the fight for global health equity continues. 

Onward!

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Sharing is caring!
Sharing is caring!

Sharing a brief update on the latest action to fight for global equity in access to vaccines!

On Thursday, April 28th, activists from Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 in conjunction with partners and advocates from People's Action, Health GAP and others gathered in Boston in front of the pharmacutical corporation Moderna to fight for a people’s vaccine. This was the day of the Moderna shareholders meeting at which Moderna’s profits were to be announced. As the COVID-19 crisis continues to rage in the Global South, an inequitable and vastly insufficient global vaccination effort threatens the lives of people around the world, including in the United States. Moderna generated over 6 billion USD in revenue for the first quarter of 2022 and made $12 billion in profits in 2021. 

Students, politicians, doctors, lawyers, and individuals from all different walks of life came together to share their stories and demand that Moderna put people over profit. The number of deaths from COVID-19 are now estimated to be over 15 million according to the World Health Organization and despite high income nations trying to open up, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are still rising in many parts of the world. None of us are safe until all of us are safe.

Moderna holds the power to greatly increase access to the vaccine  and decrease the burden of Covid-19 by sharing the science and sharing the intellectual property rights to produce the vaccine. Activists rallied for three days, where they participated in actions to increase the pressure on Moderna. Actions included marching from Galaxy Park to Moderna Headquarters, calls to the CEO of Moderna, leading teach-ins, calls to individuals with power to share the wealth,  a vigil, and much more. The efforts brought attention to the urgency of the situation and the call to action given to Moderna in doing its part to end the pandemic and our "Sharing is Caring" carebears made they own appearance again!

Onwards!

Boston Moderna Protest
Boston Moderna Protest
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Vaccinate the World Rally in DC, October 28, 2021
Vaccinate the World Rally in DC, October 28, 2021

We are pleased to share that our fourth season of our Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 campaign kicked off two weeks ago! This season's cohort intentionally includes a much smaller group of activists engaging in targeted work over a period of just 8 weeks. In past seasons, we made headlines with our DC rallies, starting with our first Funk Rally in October 2020 demanding global access to a safe and effective people's vaccine, and the second where we got to announce that the US Government would support negotiations on the TRIPS Waiver. We even got Senator Bernie Sanders to join the team in advocating to free the vaccine! Of course there is so much campaigning work ahead to reach our goals but we're delighted to be back in our advocacy labs together! This season, our focus is to continue to advance goals towards the global accessibility of the publicly-funded NIH-Moderna vaccine. The Biden administration continues to drag its feet when it comes to using all the tools in its power to increase global access to COVID-19 medicines made with our taxpayer dollars. Throughout these weeks, we are developing our messaging through a series of artistic prototypes to change the conversation surrounding the Moderna vaccine and increase pressure on both Moderna and the Biden Administration to "share the recipe" and curb the pandemic for everyone, everywhere. Our Free the Vaccine Care Bears also got to make an appearance at a recent rally ahead of the G20 (because Sharing is Caring!). The action was led by our allies at Peoples Action including an all night vigil outside COVID-19 Czar Jeffery Zients who has not done enough to ensure access the vaccine. The protest made Democracy Now - check it out here and follow us on social media for more regular updates!

As always, thanks for your support! None of us are safe until all of us are safe!

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We're in White Coat Rebels!
We're in White Coat Rebels!

I am delighted to share that a new documentary “White Coat Rebels” directed by Greg Barker was released via AFI Docs yesterday and will be shown this evening at the theatre in Silver Spring as part of the AFI Documentary Film Festival. The film follows a committed group of medical students, doctors, and activists who battle the structural inequalities of America’s health care system, in which their physicians’ oath to “do no harm” is challenged by the insidious power of the global pharmaceutical industry.  The organizing work of Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 features towards the end of the film which began shooting in 2019 and ended with the rise of COVID19 in the USA. The film follows two members of our UAEM student community in particular Neda and Gloria. More details here

You can stream the film directly from your home for the next several days. We hope you will join us in supporting it.

AND, in case you missed it, a note to let you all know that on May 5th, during our rally on the National Mall, we were able to announce that the Biden Administration would support negotations on the TRIPS Waiver. Thank you for helping us keep the pressure on! Footage from the rally, including part of the speech from Free the Vaccine project manager and UAEM student Maanasa Gurram was captured in this mini-documentary released by The Intercept. It's 15 minutes long and features a number of our allies and friends. If you're still asking questions about the Waiver and the fight to Free the Vaccine, this video should help answer your questions.

As the US opens up and here in DC vaccination rates locally hit 60% of residents who have received at least one dose of the vaccine the statistics around the world offer a very different picture. The situation in many parts of the globe is concerning. In the African continent the number of cases and deaths from COVID-19 are almost 40% higher than the week before according to the World Health Organization. We need vaccine equity now.

Please show your support with a donation to our campaign, we hope to launch a new cohort of volunteers to #FreeTheVaccine in the Fall but we can only do so with your help.

In solidarity,

Check us out in Teen Vogue!
Check us out in Teen Vogue!

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Open Meeting
Open Meeting

On April 8th 2020 we held our first organizing calls with 300 participants from 29 countries. A year later we've seen over 700 people come through the campaign, we've targeted over 50 universities and we became one of the founding organizations of the People's Vaccine - a continually growing movement supported by Nobel Prize Winner Muhammed Yunus and groups like UNAIDS. Even Bernie Sanders joined our virtual rally on March 10th!

Read about what three Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 participants, Rachel, Dannie and Sernah shared about their experience with the campaign over the past year.

"In the year that I’ve been involved with Free the Vaccine, I’ve had my outlook on activism and organizing transformed"

"I’ve learned there is no one way to build power or reach advocacy goals. That realization was liberating, and has enabled us to welcome hundreds of people from various backgrounds into our campaign".

If you'd like to learn more and hear from some of our team you can join us on April 23rd and can register here at: bit.ly/FTVopenmeeting2 

See you soon!

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Organization Information

Universities Allied for Essential Medicines Corp

Location: Washington, DC - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @uaem
Project Leader:
Merith Basey
Washington, DC United States
$127,253 raised of $130,000 goal
 
3,418 donations
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