Dear Prime Minister Morrison,
As I mentioned to you earlier today, I had a scheduled call with
Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive of Pfizer, Inc.
I used the call as an opportunity to congratulate Pfizer on their outstanding research and development and their success in producing so early a world-class COVID-19 vaccine. We also discussed Pfizer’s current challenges and the political pressures they face around the world for an intellectual property waiver to expedite the supply of vaccines to developing countries. We follow these debates closely through our think tank operations in Washington – and Pfizer’s ongoing negotiations with the United States Trade Representative.
I also used the call as an opportunity to ask Dr Bourla whether there was any possible way, given Pfizer’s current international contractual obligations, to advance the dispatch of significant quantities of the Pfizer vaccine to Australia as early as possible in the third quarter this year. My understanding was that there were current contractual arrangements with the Australian Government to deliver a total 40 million doses by the end of 2021. I did so not as a representative of the Australian Government, but purely in my private capacity as an Australian citizen who cares for his country’s wellbeing.
Dr Bourla indicated that they had limited flexibility because of their existing supply obligations around the world. Nonetheless, he also indicated that a number of their manufacturing facilities were producing ahead of schedule. In response to my representations, Dr Bourla said he would personally look at “what further might be able to be done”. I thanked Dr Bourla for that.
Dr Bourla indicated that, if it became physically possible to bring forward delivery, he would require a further formal contractual request from the Australian Government to that effect. I replied that that was understandable. I added, of course, that would be a matter for the Australian Government and that I would pass this on to you.
Speaking on my own initiative, I floated the possibility of Australia perhaps seeking a large-scale advance order of Pfizer’s 2022 vaccine “booster” which, from what I have read, is sill under development.
I speculated that it might perhaps be possible for the Australian Government to consider a commercial offer for the 2022 booster that would also incorporate a bringing-forward of the current order for the 2021 vaccine into the early part of the third quarter of this year. Once again, I emphasised to Dr Bourla that this was speculation on my own part, rather than me acting in any way on behalf of the Australian Government.
As Dr Bourla lives in New York, we also agreed to catch up when I return there later this year.
Hon Kevin Rudd AC
Source : https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/live/2021/jul/12/australia-covid-news-live-nsw-sydney-lockdown-morrison-albanese-berejiklian?page=with:block-60eb85c68f08fa158fe20bb7491