Tom Coates Profile picture
17 Mar, 25 tweets, 5 min read
1/ I know it’s easy if you live in America to think that the world revolves around you but when Trump in particular takes credit for the vaccines, it’s worth getting the various origins of these vaccines straight.
2/ The Pfizer vaccine was developed in Germany (Mainz) by German company BioNTech, who partnered with Pfizer for support with clinical trials, logistics and manufacturing.
3/ In March 2020, BioNTech got a $135m investment from Fosun in exchange (in part) for rights in China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan. In June, it got 100m euros from the European Commision and European Investment Bank. In September 2020 the German government gave them $445m.
4/ Pfizer explicitly did *not* take funding from the US’s Operation Warp Speed “because I wanted to liberate our scientists [from] any bureaucracy”. They did however agree to sell a number of doses to the US, which obviously supported the business.
5/ As of December, however, the US had agreed to purchase less of the Pfizer vaccine per capita than *thirty one* other countries around the world. They’d agreed to buy 445 million in total. The UK had 196m bought for a country 1/5th the size.
6/ Canada, the UK and Germany combined bought more doses of the Pfizer vaccine than the US did. France bought another 113m, Australia bought 69m, Japan another 151m.
7/ In short, the US under Trump did not develop the vaccine, did not directly fund the vaccine and bought fewer doses per capita than pretty much any other developed country.
8/ The Oxford-AstroZeneca vaccine (not yet available in the US and currently paused a bit in several EU countries due to as yet unsubstantiated concerns about blood clots) was developed in the UK by Oxford University.
9/ It was funded by pre-orders by various countries. Initially 100 million doses were made available the Britain’s National Health Service. Then there was an $87 million deal for the US market. This *was* part of Operation Warp Speed.
10/ However, the same month the WHO bought 300 million doses from the company and Serum Institute of India reached a licensing agreement to supply one *billion* doses to low and middle income countries. The Bill & Melinda Gates foundation gave a grant for another 100 million.
11/ Also in June last year, the Vaccines Alliance (France / Germany / Italy and the Netherlands) reached an agreement to make another 400 million doses. That deal needed renegotiation, which happened by August.
12/ The US bought some more doses later, but again the story remains the same - the vaccine wasn’t developed in the US, was mostly not funded by the US, was not bought in largest number by the US. It’s an international story of work and financing from around the world.
13/ More rapidly - the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was developed by Jansen Vaccines in Leiden in the Netherlands. The company is owned by Jansen Pharmaceuticals, which is—at least—a subsidiary of American company Johnson & Johnson.
14/ Johnson & Johnson committed $1bn towards the development of a not-for-profit COVID vaccine. This is substantial thing for a US company to do. And it did do it in partnership with the BARDA office, which is part of the US department of Health and Human services.
15/ The only vaccine actually developed in the US is the one from Moderna - which genuinely seems like it benefitted from the US government. A collaboration between NIAID, BARDA and Moderna, and led by Hamilton Bennett, it came straight out of Cambridge, Massachusetts.
16/ If you’re following the money again though, Singapore was the first to sign a pre-purchase agreement for the vaccine in June 2020. The US government came in two months later for 100 million doses. The EU bought 160 million. Canada bought 56 million.
17/ It’s not a small thing that the US made financial commitments to buy these vaccines. That counts for something. But if that’s what funded the vaccines, the EU and Japan generally contributed more.
18/ And it’s significant that the Moderna vaccine was developed in the US. As is the fact that Johnson & Johnson owned the company in the Netherlands that developed their vaccine. But it *was* developed in the Netherlands. Pfizer’s in Germany. Astrozeneca in the UK.
19/ And sure, the government in the US contributed to the development of some of the vaccines. But so did other countries. And many other countries were the sites of medical trials too.
20/ The point in all of this is not to belittle America’s contribution, but simply to point out that it was *just* a contribution - that the effort was fundamentally international - in creativity, funding, testing and delivery.
21/ And to make it clear that Trump’s rhetoric about creating these vaccines is barely even that. It’s mostly just lies—as ever—to make himself look more important and more significant by taking credit for the work of an entire planet.
22/ Being part of that planet is a good thing. Collaborating across borders is a good thing. Working with scientists around the world is a good thing. All of us do better when we work together. That’s the lesson that Trump (and much of America) seem to never want to learn.
23/ You want to look on the bright side of COVID? You want to find something inspiring to say? Then look at the way an entire planet got together with common purpose and common goals to make a vaccine in record time. And celebrate America being a part of that.
Quick correction: the Pfizer figures I quoted above were accidentally transcribed from an article on total vaccine pre-purchase agreements rather than just Pfizer. bloomberg.com/news/articles/…
You can get the full figures of pre-purchased Pfizer vaccines from Wikipedia (with references) below, but the core point remains - the US ordered 100m doses, the EU 300m, Japan 120m etc. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pfizer–Bi…

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More from @tomcoates

8 Mar
I want to restate this a day later. There’s a reason why the traditionally anti-monarchist British publications like the Guardian aren’t leaping on H&M and it’s not because they’re “destroying the monarchy”. It’s because they evidence some mildly liberal views.
A couple of decades back, they were doing the same thing to Prince Charles, whose views on environmentalism, organic farming and the built environment (while being often pretty clumsy) were widely derided by the right-wing press as “weird”.
I mean think about that. This is Prince Charles we’re talking about! He’s not a bastion of liberal values. He’s pretty far from an icon of the left. But expressing views like that was revolting and anathema to a right-wing Briton that fundamentally thinks royalty belongs to them.
Read 21 tweets
8 Mar
I’m British. I live in America. I am generally pretty uninterested in the monarchy. I used to be pretty hardcore anti-monarchist. That’s changed a *bit* because I do think there’s something stabilizing about heritage and institutions (as long as they can evolve), but not much.
My general position is that they’re massively over-privileged, rich, unnecessarily powerful people who deserve effectively none of it, but are also part of a chain that has some meaning, and neither deserve the praise nor most of the opprobrium they receive.
I don’t watch royal weddings. I don’t watch royal interviews. I genuinely do not spend a lot of attention keeping up with what’s going on with them. For the most part, I simply do not care.
Read 12 tweets
12 Jan
@GMB @piersmorgan A bunch of people will hear "gay roles for gay actors" and say it's stupid or hypocrisy. But there are a few areas to consider:
(1) Do gay actors get roles?
(2) Can straight actors accurately portray gay people?
(3) Can gay actors accurately portray straight people?
@GMB @piersmorgan The first one is I think pretty clear - while it has become considerably easier for gay actors to get ahead in Hollywood, they still don't generally have access to the most common or most popular roles and it can be an impediment to their careers.
@GMB @piersmorgan The same is true in the UK. It is often the case that actors who are out and well-known as gay simply don't get given straight roles in movies or TV. They're considered 'not believable'. Whereas when a straight actor plays an LGBT role, they're (now) considered 'brave'
Read 33 tweets
26 Nov 20
If you want to know what the Trump administration has been about, then read this list of ‘midnight regulations’ that they’re trying to implement in their final days in office. I’ll post a few of them below. projects.propublica.org/trump-midnight…
The Trump administration is expected to move forward plans to make families of noncitizen immigrants ineligible for subsidized housing.
The Trump administration is expected to move forward plans to increase the speed at which chickens may be slaughtered by putting workers at higher risk of amputations.
Read 12 tweets
24 Nov 20
I may be in a minority here, but I don’t think there’s *any* way to do an investigation of the Trump administration’s abuses that is coordinated or organized in any way from a Biden appointee.
Do I think his administration needs or requires investigation. Absolutely. Without question. Yes. Do I think he did appalling things. Absolutely. Without question. Yes. But if a Biden appointed AG starts it, it will *always* be viewed as a partisan attack ...
... and it will necessarily increase the sense that the AG and the Federal government is a tool that you can use to attack your political enemies.
Read 9 tweets
24 Nov 20
Right-wing media is now absolutely completely consumed by anti-voting machine hysteria. I have to tell you, I’m okay with this! If their anxiety results in more thorough audit trails and a determination to keep these machines updated and with paper verification, it’s good!
It is, as always, basically impossible to search Google for any subject that’s currently in the news and be able to find any historical record, but tech professionals, civil rights organizations and democrats have been raising concerns about abuse for years...
... stating that it’s important to have clear auditability, the ability for people voting to be able to check their votes on paper slips before they submit them (the benefit here being that it’s faster to machine-count machine-created ballots) ...
Read 7 tweets

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