Open letter to the Nobel Prize Committee

Open letter to the Nobel Prize Committee

Sent: 1 October, 2021.

Dear Nobel Prize Committees,

We write to you in great respect of the role the Nobel Prize plays in recognizing exceptional achievement for humanity. We write to thank you for the exceptional role you play for the world. And we write to you in pain. We are Covid-19 survivors. We are nurses and health workers, who have given every ounce of our being to save lives from this deadly virus. Too many of our co-workers died saving others. We are individuals who have lost loved ones to Covid-19. We come together from 40 countries across the world.

We are aware that there are some calls for Dr. Özlem Türeci and Prof. Uğur Şahin, the founders of the pharmaceutical corporation BioNTech, to be nominated and awarded for Nobel Prizes.

Prof. Şahin and Dr. Türeci have provided exceptional leadership in creating a Covid-19 m-RNA vaccine that is as effective as any on the planet, with the support of German and European public funds.

And yet it profoundly distresses us that they are even being considered for any Nobel Prize. As we write today, the world is in an extraordinary crisis. 0.3% of Covid-19 vaccines have gone to low-income countries. Some three million more lives could be lost this year to people who do not have access to a Covid-19 vaccine. These could be our co-workers; our parents; it could be us.

Despite the great scientific achievement of BioNTech, Prof. Şahin and Dr. Türeci have in fact rejected efforts that would allow for billions more people to benefit from the science they have created.

Prof. Şahin and Dr. Türeci have refused to share their Covid-19 vaccine recipes with the World Health Organization (WHO) that would, ensuring quality control and regulatory oversight, allow for qualified manufacturers worldwide to make the vaccine. And they have undermined efforts by over 100 countries led by South Africa and India to lift intellectual property rules on Covid-19 vaccines that started precisely one year ago.

That is far from what, as Alfred Nobel described, those who “have conferred the greatest benefit to humankind”. Faced with the chance to save millions of lives with their life-saving science, Prof. Şahin and Dr. Türeci have instead chosen to protect their monopoly to create billions of dollars in profits. They prioritized their profitable partnership with Pfizer, but we expected far better from them.

That is why it would be unconscionable that they be awarded any Nobel Prize. We people in poorer countries from Africa, Latin America and Asia put out a desperate outreached hand to Prof. Şahin and Dr. Türeci, asking they help save our lives –and instead they have turned their back to us.

We believe this can still change. Our message to Prof. Sahin and Dr. Türeci to whom we also share this letter, is a simple one: we have nothing but respect for your scientific achievement. But we have nothing except despair for your subsequent failure to share that science with the world.’

Were you to agree to share your science through the WHO mRNA hub in South Africa, and its Covid-19 Technology Access pool, and to support a comprehensive waiver of intellectual property rules, we will be the first to support your nomination for a Nobel Prize: as the individuals who used their extraordinary power to save millions of lives in every country in the world at this time of unprecedented human crisis.

In sincerity and solidarity,


  1. Zulaikha Rafiq, COVID-19 Survivor, Afghanistan
  2. Morgan, Healthcare worker, Australia
  3. Odette Michel Best, Healthcare worker, Australia
  4. Dr Aletha Ward, Healthcare worker, Australia
  5. Tom Reddington, Healthcare worker, Australia
  6. Khushi Kabir, COVID-19 bereaved, Bangladesh
  7. Rokeya Kabir. COVID-19 bereaved, Bangladesh
  8. Nadira Mallik, COVID-19 bereaved, Bangladesh
  9. M. Abdul Matin, Healthcare worker, Bangladesh
  10. Pablo Andres Rivero, COVID-19 bereaved, Bolivia
  11. Grazielle Custódio David, COVID-19 bereaved, Brazil
  12. Reaksmey Hong, COVID-19 bereaved, Cambodia
  13. Charina Huot, COVID-19 Survivor, Cambodia
  14. Francisco Olivares, Healthcare worker, Chile
  15. Linna. Healthcare worker, China
  16. Fabiola Rodriguez, COVID-19 bereaved, Colombia
  17. Richard Stern, Costa Rica
  18. Mandisa Zwane-Machakata, COVID-19 bereaved, Eswatini (Swaziland)
  19. Nigus Simane, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Ethiopia
  20. Hailu Nurga, COVID-19 bereaved, Ethiopia
  21. Rashmi Mistry, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, France
  22. Anonymous, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, France
  23. Saiba T Suso, COVID-19 bereaved, Gambia
  24. Mam Kumba Ndow Sise, Healthcare worker, Gambia
  25. Malte Radde, COVID-19 survivor, Germany
  26. Adrian Schlegel, COVID-19 bereaved, Germany
  27. Kaiser Gabi, Healthcare worker, Germany
  28. Ohenewaa Brown, COVID-19 Survivor, Ghana
  29. Emmanuel Baidoo, COVID-19 bereaved, Ghana
  30. Gbene Ali Malik, COVID-19 bereaved, Ghana
  31. Shobha Raghuram, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  32. Babu Mathew, COVID-19 bereaved, Vaccine trial participant, India
  33. Blessina Kumar, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  34. JaibuNisha.R, COVID-19 bereaved, Healthcare worker, Vaccine trial participant, India
  35. Dr. Nitin Jadhav, COVID-19 bereaved, Indi
  36. Shalmali Guttal, COVID-19 Survivor, India
  37. Vijay Rukmini Rao, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  38. S David Brynerd, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  39. Kiran Kumar, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  40. Loon Gangte, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  41. James Pochury, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  42. Smita Khanijow, COVID-19 Survivor, India
  43. David Selvaraj, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  44. Sushovan Dhar, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  45. David Kire, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  46. Anonymous, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  47. Ramesh Kumar Singh, Healthcare worker, India
  48. Asola, COVID-19 bereaved, India
  49. Aditya Wardhana, COVID-19 bereaved, Healthcare worker, Indonesia
  50. Rachmi Hertanti, COVID-19 Survivor, Indonesia
  51. Meirinda Sebayang, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Indonesia
  52. Kieran Harkin, Healthcare worker, Ireland
  53. Susan Smith, Healthcare worker, Ireland
  54. Aaron Koay, Healthcare worker, Ireland
  55. John Carroll, Healthcare worker, Ireland
  56. James Larkin, Healthcare Researcher, Ireland
  57. Ciara Conlan, Healthcare worker, Ireland
  58. Anne Reilly, Healthcare worker, Ireland
  59. Paul O’Raw, Ireland
  60. Sean Farren, Ireland
  61. Toni Pyke, Ireland
  62. John O’Louighlin Kennedy, Ireland
  63. Helen Fahy, Ireland
  64. Seamus ONeill, COVID-19 bereaved, Ireland
  65. Michael Byrne, Ireland
  66. Anne Heffernan, Ireland
  67. Pat Murphy, COVID-19 bereaved, Ireland
  68. Carmel Hamill, Ireland,
  69. Carol Dorgan, Ireland
  70. Christine Kelly, Healthcare worker, Ireland
  71. Gail Nicolson, Healthcare worker, Ireland
  72. Emanuela Lamieri, COVID-19 bereaved, Italy
  73. Marie-Claire Wangari, Healthcare worker, Kenya
  74. Allan, COVID-19 bereaved, Kenya
  75. Ruth Sandimu, COVID-19 bereaved, Kenya
  76. Crystal Simeoni, COVID-19 bereaved, Kenya
  77. Timothy Wafula, COVID-19 bereaved, Kenya
  78. Josephine Ireri, COVID-19 survivor, Kenya
  79. Nickson Chepkwony, COVID-19 survivor, Healthcare worker, Kenya
  80. Fatuma Matemu, Kenya
  81. Deepak Xavier, COVID-19 survivor, Kenya
  82. Nabil Ahmed, COVID-19 bereaved, Kenya
  83. Sadia Kidwai, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Kenya
  84. Julie O, COVID-19 bereaved, Kenya
  85. Thokozile Lungu, COVID-19 bereaved, Malawi
  86. Crisis Home KL, Healthcare worker, Vaccine trial participant, Malaysia
  87. Traore Tariba, COVID-19 survivor, Mali
  88. Marco Alejandro, Healthcare worker, Mexico
  89. Georgina Gutiérrez Alvarado, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Mexico
  90. María Eugenia Velázquez Zaragoza, COVID-19 bereaved, Healthcare worker, Mexico
  91. Elizabeth, COVID-19 bereaved, Namibia
  92. Praman Adhikari, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Nepal
  93. Reshma Shakya, Vaccine trial participant, Nepal
  94. Rajesh Didiya, COVID-19 bereaved, Nepal
  95. Hari Bhusal, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Nepal
  96. Sujat Shramanera. COVID-19 bereaved, Nepal
  97. Asmita Pandit, COVID-19 bereaved, Nepal
  98. Anonymous, COVID-19 Survivor, Healthcare worker, Nepal
  99. Pratap Maharjan, COVID-19 Survivor, Nepal
  100. Geeta Pandey, COVID-19 bereaved, Nepal
  101. Bishnu Prasad Sharma, COVID-19 bereaved, Nepal
  102. Mahesh Badal, COVID-19 Survivor, Nepal
  103. Lily Thapa, COVID-19 Survivor, Nepal
  104. Indu Adhikary, COVID-19 Survivor, Healthcare worker, Nepal
  105. Shiva Paudel, COVID-19 bereaved, Nepal
  106. Dilip Shrestha, COVID-19 survivor, Nepal
  107. Bal Krishna Kattel, COVID-19 survivor, Nepal
  108. Nilam Pun, Healthcare worker, Nepal
  109. BarsaThapa, COVID-19 bereaved, Nepal
  110. Lumanti Joshi, COVID-19 Survivor, Nepal
  111. Asma Kiran, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Pakistan
  112. Asghar Satti, Healthcare worker, Pakistan
  113. Dr Alia Haider, Healthcare worker, Pakistan
  114. Irfan Ilahi, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Pakistan
  115. Farooq Tariq, COVID-19 survivor, Pakistan
  116. Dinah Fuentesfina, COVID-19 bereaved, Philippines
  117. Angelica Pago, COVID-19 Survivor, Philippines
  118. Anthony Louie V. David, COVID-19 Survivor, Healthcare worker, Philippines
  119. Jesus Rancile Cabas, COVID-19 Survivor, Philippines
  120. Raymund Lauron, COVID-19 Survivor, Philippines
  121. Joshua San PedroCOVID-19 Survivor, Healthcare worker, Philippines
  122. Juan Dionisio Rafael Ferriols, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Philippines
  123. Jamie Dominique N. Dasmariñas, Healthcare worker, Philippines
  124. Randy Dacanay, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Philippines
  125. Valentina Montanaro, COVID-19 bereaved, Portugal
  126. Maria Fernanda Salazar Rodriguez, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Portugal
  127. Michel Ndayambaje, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Rwanda
  128. Jacqueline Nyirabyimana, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Rwanda
  129. Anonymous, COVID-19 Survivor, Rwanda
  130. Belinda Ameterra, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  131. Solanga Solly Milambo, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  132. Irna Senekal, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  133. Geraldine Naidoo, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  134. Tian Johnson, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  135. Mabalane Mfundisi, COVID-19 bereaved, Healthcare worker, South Africa
  136. Tokky Shingange, COVID-19 survivor, South Africa
  137. Jens Pedersen, Healthcare worker, South Africa
  138. Rafia Akram, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  139. Mbali Baduza, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  140. Linda Cooper, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  141. Mila Harding, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  142. Fatima Hassan, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  143. Vanessa Japtha, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  144. Maurice Smithers, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  145. Sasha Stevenson, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  146. Umunyana, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  147. Yanga, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  148. Lucky Boy Edison Mkhondwane, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  149. Boitumelo, COVID-19 survivor, South Africa
  150. Jean Richter, COVID-19 survivor, South Africa
  151. Dumisile, COVID-19 bereaved, Healthcare worker, South Africa
  152. Ntsiki Mpulo, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  153. Ingrid Weideman, COVID-19 bereaved, South Africa
  154. Kapil Narain, COVID-19 bereaved, COVID-19 survivor, Healthcare worker, South Africa
  155. Candice Sehoma, COVID-19 survivor, South Africa
  156. Leanne Brady, Healthcare worker, South Africa
  157. Nikki Schaay, Healthcare worker, South Africa
  158. Paula Rodríguez Notario, COVID-19 Survivor, Spain
  159. Laura Girón, COVID-19 Survivor, Spain
  160. Anonymous, Vaccine trial participant, Spain
  161. Nuria Larrinaga Barea,COVID-19 bereaved, Spain
  162. Elena Alfaro Ruiz-Clavijo, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Spain
  163. Paloma Notario Diaz, COVID-19 Survivor, Spain
  164. Anonymous, Vaccine trial participant, Spain
  165. Marta Iniguez, COVID-19 bereaved, Spain
  166. Carlos Díaz, COVID-19 Survivor, Spain
  167. Atria Mier, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Spain
  168. Anonymous, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, Spain
  169. Sandra Victoria Salazar Espitia, COVID-19 survivor, Spain
  170. Maite, COVID-19 bereaved, Spain
  171. Liliana Suarez Navaz, COVID-19 bereaved, Spain
  172. Roberto Gil Gordon, COVID-19 survivor, Spain
  173. Anonymous, Vaccine trial participant, Spain
  174. Anonymous, COVID-19 bereaved, Spain
  175. Luis Martinez Ros, COVID-19 bereaved ,Healthcare worker, Spain
  176. Nalini Ratnarajah, COVID-19 bereaved, Sri Lanka
  177. Pubudini Wickramaratne, COVID-19 bereaved, Sri Lanka
  178. Harry Prabowo, COVID-19 bereaved, Thailand
  179. Sofien Asta, COVID-19 survivor, Tunisia
  180. Joan Babirye, COVID-19 bereaved, Healthcare worker, Uganda
  181. Joseph Abubanks Mwebaze, Healthcare worker, Uganda
  182. Anonymous, COVID-19 bereaved, UK
  183. Kathleen Zimak, UK
  184. Matheus Rossetto, COVID-19 bereaved, UK
  185. Anonymous, Healthcare worker, UK
  186. Elizabeth Baines, UK
  187. Sheila Cogley, Healthcare worker, UK
  188. Eileen Mcmanus, UK
  189. Paulo Roberto Rossetto, COVID-19 Survivor, COVID-19 bereaved, UK
  190. Saphal Gurung, Healthcare worker, UK
  191. Kazi R Begum, COVID-19 bereaved, UK
  192. Alka Makwana, COVID-19 bereaved Healthcare worker, UK
  193. Zheyuan Xie, Healthcare worker, UK
  194. Kazi Begum, COVID-19 bereaved, UK
  195. Anonymous, COVID-19 bereaved, United States
  196. Tristan Quinn-Thibodeau, COVID-19 survivor, United States
  197. Reshma Ramachandran, COVID-19 bereaved, Healthcare worker, United States
  198. Belle Koch, Healthcare worker, United States
  199. Jacob Hyman, Healthcare worker, United States
  200. Martha Tholanah, COVID-19 bereaved, Zimbabwe
  201. Tanya Charles, COVID-19 bereaved, Zimbabwe
  202. Glenda, COVID-19 survivor, Zimbabwe

/ Ends

For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact: [email protected]

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