Global activists mobilize for a People’s Vaccine during pharma AGMs


Release date: 28 April 2022

Man in suit with Pfizer logo bade loads bag with dollar sign into a van

Health GAP staged a Pfizer pandemic profits “bank heist” in New York

  • Messages from activists around the world to be blasted outside pharma offices during Annual General Meetings (AGMs), with billboards in Time Square and London decrying “shame” and “greed”
  • Wheelbarrows of “pandemic profits” to be brought to Pfizer site in UK
  • Shareholder resolutions call on companies to transfer technology to lower-income countries and improve access to vaccines and treatments

People’s Vaccine Alliance activists from around the world are mobilizing to condemn pharmaceutical giants for failing to share their COVID-19 vaccine and treatment recipes with low and middle-income countries, as Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson host their Annual General Meetings.

Vaccine equity campaigners will assemble outside company sites and present resolutions at AGMs to demand the companies transfer the technology needed to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines and treatments to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 Technology Access Pool and the mRNA hub in South Africa.

Actions include

  • #OneWordForPharma audio protest: Audio messages from activists describing the conduct of pharmaceutical companies in the pandemic in one word will be blasted from speakers outside company offices during their AGMs, decrying “shame” and “greed”.
  • Wheelbarrows of Pfizer’s “pandemic profits”: Activists in the UK will unfurl a banner warning that Pfizer has “blood on its hands” and bring wheelbarrows of fake “pandemic profits” to the company’s doors in Surrey, to protest its profiteering from artificial vaccine scarcity and failure to provide vaccines for lower-income countries.
  • Superheroes protect mRNA hub from Moderna: Health Justice Initiative will send superheroes to stand outside the WHO mRNA hub in South Africa to defend the hub from Moderna. The company has filed patents relating to its vaccine in South Africa that could threaten the hub’s future work.
  • Mass Moderna mobilization: A massive coalition of progressive public health advocates, global justice activists, and faith leaders will rally at Moderna’s headquarters in Boston during its annual shareholder meeting, with hundreds expected to attend. Organized by a coalition of groups including Justice is Global and Health GAP.
  • Times Square and London billboards: Billboards displaying messages urging pharmaceutical companies to share their vaccine technology will be displayed in Time Square in New York and on a roaming mobile billboard in London.
  • Banners in India and Cambodia: Activists in multiple locations in India and Phnom Penh in Cambodia will unfurl banners at key landmarks calling for the company to share its vaccine recipes with the global south.
  • Pfizer “heist” in NYC: On Monday, activists staged a mock heist outside Pfizer’s headquarters to highlight the company’s profiteering from artificial scarcity that has generated record-breaking profits while worsening global vaccine and treatment inequality.
  • Shareholder resolutions: WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and activist Ady Barkan present resolutions filed by Oxfam at the Pfizer and Moderna AGMs demanding the companies study the feasibility of transferring vaccine technology and know-how to lower-income countries. People’s Vaccine Alliance spokesperson Maaza Seyoum presents an Oxfam resolution seeking transparency from Johnson & Johnson on how the company determines pricing for its COVID vaccines in light of the billions of dollars in public funding the company received.

Julia Kosgei, Policy Advisor to the People’s Vaccine Alliance, said:

“These vaccines were created with unprecedented public funding to deal with an unprecedented global threat to humanity. They should not be private property – they are the people’s vaccines. There are manufacturers ready to make vaccines and treatments in the global south. But first, world leaders must suspend intellectual property rules and pharmaceutical companies must transfer the technology to make COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.”

Ruizhen Ma, Oxfam campaigner and organizer of the #OneWordForPharma audio protest, which will enable pharmaceutical companies to hear first hand from those on the front line of the pandemic, said:

“There are many words we could use to describe pharmaceutical company conduct in this pandemic: shameful, profiteering, greedy. But pharmaceutical companies deserve to hear from those who are on the front line of the pandemic around the world. We will play messages from those who have lost loved ones, and those who are fighting for fair access to vaccines and treatments.”

Tim Bierley, pharma campaigner at Global Justice Now and organiser of the “Wheelbarrows of pandemic profits” protest at Pfizer in the UK, said:

“For two years, pharmaceutical company executives have made themselves and their shareholders a fortune by prioritizing vaccines for rich countries, leaving people to die by the millions in the global south. Many of these deaths were preventable. These decisions should ruin the company’s reputation permanently. Pfizer has blood on its hands.”

Fatima Hassan, Director of the Health Justice Initiative in South Africa and organizer of the mRNA hub ‘superhero’ protest, said:

“The heroes of this pandemic are the scientists who have developed lifesaving vaccines and all those who have worked to make them accessible. But now that African companies have developed the technology needed to make these vaccines, our heroes are under threat from the villains at Moderna. Until the South African government throws out Moderna’s patents or the company withdraws them, we need a hero to safeguard this work. So, we’re sending in the superheroes.”


Notes to editors

For videos, photos, and news throughout the day, please follow the People’s Vaccine Alliance on Twitter.

Comedian Jolyon Rubinstein provides a searing pharma takedown of pharma profiteering here.

For more information on the shareholder resolutions at the Pfizer, Moderna, and J&J AGMs, please see here.

For information on Monday’s Pfizer “heist” in New York, please contact Jessica Bassett [email protected] . For photos, please refer to:

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