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Rubio, Hagerty, Cruz Request Answers from GAVI Following Advance Purchase Agreements With Sinophram and Sinovac

Jul 22, 2021 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Marco Rubio (R-FL), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Ted Cruz (R-TX) sent a letter to the GAVI Alliance’s Chairman, José Manuel Barroso, expressing concern that U.S. taxpayer dollars were used for advance purchase agreements with Sinopharm and Sinovac for COVID-19 vaccines. Both Sinovac and Sinopharm are companies based in China with ties to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The Senators noted, “[w]e are deeply concerned by this agreement due to its potential to enrich the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has not made any serious effort to date to bring an end to the pandemic. We write to request an explanation for why these agreements were signed and if any money from American taxpayers was included in those agreements.” 

Rubio is a senior member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. 

The full text of the letter is below. 

Dear Chairman Barroso: 

It has come to our attention that the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) initiative has signed advance purchase agreements with Sinopharm and Sinovac for their inactivated virus COVID-19 vaccines. We are deeply concerned by this agreement due to its potential to enrich the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), which has not made any serious effort to date to bring an end to the pandemic. We write to request an explanation for why these agreements were signed and if any money from American taxpayers was included in those agreements. 

As you know, the U.S. is COVAX’s largest donor and has pledged over $4 billion to COVAX. The U.S. has also generously donated 55 million shots, and at the G7 Summit in Europe in May, President Joe Biden announced the donation of a further 500 million vaccines to be distributed through COVAX. We have been strong supporters of GAVI’s mission to vaccinate people in developing countries against diseases, like tuberculosis, malaria, and others that are a scourge on these countries’ paths to prosperity. We have always requested U.S. government funding for GAVI be included in annual appropriations bills from Congress. In making these funding requests for GAVI, it was never the U.S. Congress’ intention that such funding be used to benefit the CCP.  

While the U.S. has been COVAX’s single largest supporter, the CCP has made absolutely zero contributions to the global effort to end the pandemic that began within China’s own borders. To date, the CCP has not donated money or vaccines from its broad stockpile to COVAX. The CCP continues to obstruct international efforts to conduct a credible investigation into the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is for these reasons we are deeply troubled by COVAX’s decision to sign agreements which could potentially bring billions of dollars to Chinese companies controlled by the CCP. 

We understand the incredible strain COVAX, and many developing countries, are under to contain resurgent waves of COVID-19. We have been steadfast in our support for the U.S. to donate its excess vaccines to aid this international effort. We therefore request answers to the following questions: 

  • How much money did COVAX agree to pay Sinopharm and Sinovac under the advance purchase agreements signed on July 12, 2021?
  • Of the amounts agreed to be paid to Sinopharm and Sinovac, how much will come from monies pledged by the U.S. Government? What safeguards are in place to ensure that U.S. taxpayer money are not used to pay for Chinese vaccines in the future?
  • What are COVAX’s additional requirements for further funding and vaccines so that it does not feel compelled to purchase vaccines from the CCP?
  • To date, what efforts has COVAX taken to encourage the Chinese government to donate funding or vaccines, rather than selling them for a profit? 

We thank you in advance for your responses to these important questions. 

Sincerely,