Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said the company is being forced to “throw away” 30 million COVID-19 vaccine doses due to low demand. Bancel made his comments while speaking at the World Economic Forum on Monday, adding his displeasure over the lack of people getting vaccinated and “waning immunity” among those who have had the shots but declined to get boosters.
“It’s sad to say, I’m in the process of throwing 30 million doses in the garbage because nobody wants them. We have a big demand problem,” Bancel said.
The Moderna CEO added that the pharmaceutical giant has reached out to a number of world governments but has been unable to find any takers. “We right now have governments—we tried to contact … through the embassies in Washington. Every country and nobody wants to take them,” he said. “And so the challenge we have right now is very different to the one we had two years ago.”
“The issue in many countries is that people don’t want vaccines,” Bancel added.
The Moderna CEO went on to market his company’s “superior” Omicron-specific vaccine booster that is set to arrive this fall. The company claims that the vaccine will protect against subvariants as well, though such promises have rarely panned out.
Dr. Anthony Fauci previously claimed that the first booster shot would protect against future variants.
“We are confident that by the fall of this year, we should have large amounts of that new booster vaccine that will protect against Omicron and other variants, and really protect Americans and people around the world as we go into the fall of 2022,” said Moderna Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton in a statement to CBS last month.
Bancel’s statement comes as a number of European Union nations are calling for a renegotiation of the bloc’s vaccine contracts. Multiple European nations are stuck with stockpiles of vaccines, but have run out of takers after it has become clear that they do practically nothing to stop the spread.
According to the CDC, 66.6% of the U.S. population qualifies as “fully vaccinated”, meaning they had received at least two doses of a Pfizer or Moderna mRNA vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson shot. Of those 66.6%, just 46.6% opted to get a booster. Only 20.7% of boosted Americans opted to get a second one.