The COVID-19 pandemic continues to feature a lively debate on the balancing of scientific and policy perspectives – most recently on the search for verifiable evidence on the origins of this particular coronavirus. From the beginning of the pandemic, I have been writing commentaries on the importance of applying both a political lens and a scientific lens to the management of the pandemic. At the time, we were all understandably concerned about the risk of political actions that were clearly contrary to the scientific evidence. But that should not have led us away from the value of incorporating the science into a workable political framework for collaborative action. I still embrace the need for balance – combining the scientific guidance on who needs to wear a mask, for example, with political guidance on how this should be implemented in specific circumstances.
A second interest that has inspired me to write about the pandemic is the remarkable flowering of global and multi-stakeholder collaboration that the pandemic has inspired – in vaccine development most strikingly but also in the efforts to ensure global sharing of vaccines and therapeutic needs. In addition, the multi-stakeholder nature of this collaboration has been a particular focus of my ongoing commentaries.
With these themes in mind, I have started a compendium here of the proposals and actions that continue to inspire me to write about the global and multi-stakeholder response to the pandemic. This list will be regularly updated.
The Global Response to The COVID-19 Pandemic: A Compendium of Proposals and Commentaries
11 June: “Weak G7 Commitments on Vaccines Pose Majjor Downside Risk for Global Economy, International Chamber of Commerce statement available here.
11 June 2021: “Oxfam reaction to G7 Leaders’ plan to pledge at least 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries”, Oxfam statement critical of G7 and need for 11 billion doses to end the pandemic available here.
10 June 2021: “Pfizer and BioNTech to Provide 500 Million Doses of COVID-19 Vaccine to U.S. Government for Donation to Poorest Nations” available here.
10 June 2021: “President Biden Announces Historic Vaccine Donation: Half a Billion Pfizer Vaccines to the World’s Lowest-Income Nations”, available on the White House Briefing Room website here.
7 June 2021: “WTO receives updated petition calling for universally accessible and affordable COVID-19 vaccines”, reporting on petition signed by over 2.7 million people from around the world, coordinated by Avaaz and the People’s Vaccine Alliance, available on the WTO website here. Both groups have websites that promote the petition but not the details of where the 2.7 million are documented (Avaaz here and People’s Vaccine Alliance here). The short petition reads as follows:
We call on you urgently to ensure access to lifesaving Covid-19 vaccines, treatments and equipment for everyone in the world. Patents should be suspended, technological knowledge shared freely and openly, and no profiteering allowed during this pandemic. Governments, scientists and pharmaceutical companies must cooperate and combine resources to ensure no one is left behind. The pandemic will not be over, until it’s over everywhere.
6 June: “Covid: more than 200 leaders urge G7 to help vaccinate world’s poorest”, in a letter first seen and reported by the Guardian, summarized here.
6 June 2021: “Prime Minister Calls on G7 Leaders to vaccinate the world by the end of next year”, available on the G7 UK 2021 website here.
3 June 2021: “Biden-Harris Administration Unveils Strategy for Global Vaccine Sharing, Announcing Allocation Plan for the First 25 Million Doses to be Shared Globally”, reported on the White House Briefing Room here.
2 June 2021: The Gavi COVAX AMC Summit “One World Protected”, hosted by the Government of Japan and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, raised US$ 2.4 billion from nearly 40 donor governments, the private sector and foundations, reported on the GAVI website here.
1 June 2021: “A new commitment for vaccine equity and defeating the pandemic”, a joint statement by Kristalina Georgieva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, David Malpass and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, published in major newspapers worldwide and also available on the websites of IMF, WHO, World Bank and WTO (available here).
25 May 2021: World Health Assembly adopts “Resolution on Strengthening WHO Preparedness for and response to health emergencies”, available here.
25 May 2021: World Health Assembly approves “Decision on a Special session of the World Health Assembly to consider developing a WHO convention, agreement or other international pandemic preparedness and response”, special session to be held in Geneva on 29 November to 1 December 2021, available here.
21 May 2021: “Rome Declaration”. G20 Global Health Summit available here.
17 May 2021: “Open Letter to the Biden Administration and US Congress Calling for Urgent High-Level US Leadership to Address
Escalating Global COVID-19 Vaccine Crisis”, by Amanda Glassman and others, available on the CSIS website here.
17 May 2021: “FACT SHEET: Biden-Harris Administration is Providing at least 80 million COVID-19 Vaccines for Global Use, Commits to Leading a Multilateral Effort toward Ending the Pandemic”, available on the White House Briefing Room website here.
17 May 2021: “Remarks by President Joe Biden on the Covid-19 Response and the Vaccination Program”, also available on the White House Briefing Room website here
10 May 2021: “Next Steps for a People’s Vaccine,” by Jayati Ghosh, available on the GAVI website here.
7 May 2021: “Stopping Drug Patents Has Stopped Pandemics Before,” by Laurie Garrett in Foreign Policy ,available here.
7 May 2021: “Why we focus on vaccine equity”, by Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, available here.
6 May 2021: “Statement of Director.-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala on USTR Tai’s Statement on the TRIPS Waiver”, available here.
5 May 2021: “Statement from Ambassador Katherine Tai on the Covid-19 Trips Waiver, available here.
5 May 2021: IFPMA Statement on WTO TRIPS Intellectual Property Waiver, available here.
5 May 2021: PhRMA Statement on WTO TRIPS Intellectual Property Waiver, available here.
28 April: Jeremy Farrar with the Wellcome Trust in support of the COVAX Facility, “Political leaders must ensure Covid vaccines aren’t the preserve of the rich”., published by The Guardian here.
28 April: Mark McClellan, Krishna Udayakumar, Michael Merson and Gary Edson, in support of American vaccine diplomacy, “Why America’s Next Covid Push Should be Outside America” published by Politico here.
27 April: “Global faith leaders call for drug firms to vaccinate world against Covid” in support of an IP waiver, published by The Guardian here.
21 April: Joint Appeal by Members of the European Parliament and of European National Parliaments Urging the EU and its Member States to Support a TRIPS Waiver (posted with Club of Madrid here).
15 April 2021: Reducing Global COVID Vaccine Shortages: New Research and Recommendations for US Leadership, authored by Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Krishna Udayakumar, MD, MBA, Michael Merson, MD and Gary Edson, JD, MBA, for Duke Global Health Innovation Center and associated institutes, available here.
15 April: “Former heads of state and Nobel laureates call on President Biden to waive intellectual property rules for COVID vaccines” (posted by the Club of Madrid here)
14 April: “COVID-19 and Vaccine Equity: What Can the WTO Contribute?” See the WTO Director-General’s statement and wrap-up of this meeting (both available here).
14 April: USTR Katherine Tai’s Remarks at a WTO virtual conference on COVID-19 vaccine equity (on the USTR website here)
12 March 2021: Remarks by President Biden, Prime Minister Modi of India, Prime Minister Morrison of Australia, and Prime Minister Suga of Japan in the Virtual Quad Leaders Summit, from the US White House Briefing Room, available here.
13 March 2021: Joint Opinion Statement “Our four nations are committed to a free, open, secure and prosperous Indo-Pacific region”, Joint opinion statement in The Washington Post, available here.
19 February 2021: Joint Statement on COVID-19 of G7 Leaders, available here.
25 January 2021: ICC Research Foundation, The Economic Case for Global Vaccinations”, available on the ICC website here.
21 January 2021: “National Strategy for the COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness,” available through the White House Briefing Room here
21 January 2021: “National Security Memorandum on United States Global Leadership to Strengthen the International COVID-19 Response and to Advance Global Health Security and Biological Preparedness”, available through the White House Briefing Room here.