CMMB Welcomes Expansion of U.S. Vaccine Manufacturing Capacity, and Efforts Towards Manufacturing Vaccines in Low-Income Countries Amid New Omicron Variant

CMMB calls for governments to work with the private sector to form public-private partnerships to create more manufacturing sites in low- and middle-income countries.

New York, New York, UNITED STATES

NEW YORK, NEW YORK, Dec. 01, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Catholic Medical Mission Board (CMMB) welcomes the Biden Administration’s new plan to expand U.S. manufacturing capacity to produce a billion doses of mRNA vaccines per year. CMMB calls for the U.S. government and other donor governments to work with the private sector to form public-private partnerships to create more manufacturing sites in low- and middle-income countries and bring sorely needed expertise to strengthen in-country supply chains.

“President Biden has said that the U.S. would serve as the vaccine arsenal for the world, and we should be encouraged that our nation will begin to make good on this promise. By scaling up domestic production, the U.S. can share more vaccines with low-income countries and help end the global crisis of vaccine inequity. We need to close this vaccination gap between rich and poor nations—it’s a matter of living the principle of Love Thy Neighbor,” said Mary Beth Powers, president and CEO of CMMB.

To date, 42.9% of the world’s population has been fully vaccinated. But only 3% of people in low-income countries have been fully vaccinated, compared to 67.3% in high-income countries. Moreover, despite many wealthy nations’ pledges to donate vaccine doses, only 15% of pledged doses have arrived in low-income countries. Low vaccination rates due to lack of access have also made low-income nations potential breeding grounds for viral mutations that can then quickly spread, as we may be seeing now with the new Omicron variant.

“Much more work remains to be done. It is not enough to only increase domestic manufacturing capacity. One of the biggest lessons learned from the pandemic is that we lack vaccine manufacturing capacity and strong supply chains around the world which could help expand access more quickly within countries still in need. To address this and be better prepared for the next pandemic, we must invest in regional manufacturing to avoid the risks of supply chain disruptions and interrupted access to essential goods, including PPE and vaccines,” said Ms. Powers.

“CMMB urges the Biden Administration, other donor governments and the private sector to form public-private partnerships to invest resources to create more manufacturing sites in low- and middle-income countries and bring sorely needed expertise to strengthen supply chains. These investments will not only save lives during this pandemic, but expanding local vaccine production in Africa, South America, and Southeast Asia will also advance global health security by preparing us to respond to future outbreaks,” said Ms. Powers.

Public-private partnerships have played a key role in tackling previous pandemics, such as HIV/AIDS. The U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) saved millions of lives. Part of the program’s success is due to participation of the private sector, which supported the strengthening logistics, supply chains, and HIV lab practices. CMMB has worked with PEPFAR on projects in Haiti and Zambia to prevent and treat HIV in vulnerable communities.

CMMB has joined other faith-based organizations to call on the Biden Administration to expedite deliveries of previously promised vaccines and procure additional doses for low and middle-income countries. Drawing on Catholic social teaching, CMMB is a founding member of Catholic Cares, a coalition of 59 Catholic organizations promoting vaccine acceptance and equity in the U.S. and around the world.

Mary Beth Powers is available for a limited number of interviews. For questions about the information contained within this press release or about CMMB and its programs, please contact the Director of Communications, Luke Dougherty at

About CMMB

CMMB (Catholic Medical Mission Board) provides long-term medical and development aid to communities affected by poverty and unequal access to healthcare. Focusing on women’s and children health, we deliver sustainable health services in Peru, Haiti, Kenya, South Sudan, and Zambia. For over a century, we have worked to strengthen and support communities through healthcare programs and initiatives, the placement of volunteers, and the distribution of medicines and medical supplies. CMMB has delivered over 3,000 shipments to 88 countries over the last ten years, with a total value of more than $4 billion worth of medical aid.

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