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AOC: U.S. Must Mass Produce COVID-19 Vaccine for World, or Pandemic Could Drag On for Generations

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As the COVID-19 pandemic drags on, less than 0.1% of vaccine doses have been administered in low-income countries, according to data available at the end of March, with more than 86% of shots being administered in high- and upper-middle-income countries. “We are not protecting ourselves from the virus, and we frankly are setting up the virus and COVID for being around for generations,” says New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. She calls on the United States to use tools like the Defense Production Act to mobilize mass production of vaccines to export for free around the world.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Congressmember, if the pandemic taught us anything, the horror of this last year, it is that we are all in this together, I mean, not only in this country, but all over the world. If one person is sick, we are all vulnerable, which means we all have to protect each other

According to The New York Times, at the end of March 30th, 86% of shots that have gone into the arms worldwide have been administered in high- or upper-middle-income countries. Only 0.1% of doses had been administered in low-income countries. In Haiti, for example, they haven’t gotten a shot. They haven’t gotten a vaccine at all.

What has to be done in this country? Now the discussion, today specifically, is: Should Americans get a third booster shot? And, of course, there are many areas of grave concern in the United States, where less than a third of the population is vaccinated, but let’s look at the rest of the world. What can the U.S. do, and you as a representative do, and Congress do?

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, you know, I think that there’s a lot that we can do. And one thing that is extremely concerning is that if only the wealthy are being vaccinated, then the majority of the population in the world is not being vaccinated. And if that is the case, then we are not — we are not protecting ourselves from the virus, and we, frankly, are setting up the virus and COVID for being around for generations, if we continue at this pace.

AMY GOODMAN: We have 20 seconds.

REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ: So, I believe that we should — we should be examining tools, whether it’s the Defense Production Act or whether it is other modes of mechanism, that we take — we look at this as a defense issue and that we mobilize mass production of vaccines and export them across the world, and, in additionally, taking on the Big Pharma companies that are trying to profit off of mass vaccinations. They should be free and fully available to people around the world.

AMY GOODMAN: We want to thank you so much for being with us. We hope you’ll come back soon. Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, thank you so much. I’m Amy Goodman, with Juan González.

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