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We need a better plan.
Author: Andrea Taylor
The past 18 months have shown us what happens when we rely on fragmented responses to a pandemic – the result is an uncoordinated patchwork of insufficient approaches and the continued spread of an ever-mutating virus. It sounds obvious but still needs to be said: pandemics are global and our response must be as well.
Together with colleagues at the COVID Collaborative, the Pandemic Action Network, the Center for Global Development, and many others, we developed a Framework for a Global Action Plan for COVID-19 Response. As the framework states, “an ‘all-hands-on-deck’ crisis response must deploy all available resources and capabilities – multilateral and bilateral, public and private sector.” We need to pull in all willing partners and make sure everyone is rowing in the same direction.
The need for coordinated, comprehensive global action is urgent. It is not enough for high-income countries to say, “we’ve done our bit” and then focus attention back on national priorities. Without a global plan and accountability, we cannot effectively address this crisis anywhere, including at home.
We are calling on world leaders to urgently convene a Global Pandemic Response and Vaccination Summit and commit to six steps:
Strengthen global leadership and accountability. We need clear leadership structures, accountability mechanisms, and coordination across all partners, countries, and resources.
Develop and implement a Global COVID-19 Response Roadmap, a fully-costed plan to achieve 70% vaccination rates in every country by mid-2022 along with targets for access to tests, treatments, and other critical interventions.
Empower a global taskforce for supply chain and manufacturing to accelerate and expand manufacturing capacity in LMICs and increase transparency across the supply chain.
Accelerate sharing of vaccines and other life-saving interventions, including the sharing of at least 1 billion doses, with the aim of 2 billion doses, by end of 2021 from G7/EU and G20 member countries.
Strengthen country-level distribution and deliver capabilities, augmenting multilateral efforts through national initiatives modeled on successful programs such as PEPFAR.
Increase multi-year financing for the pandemic response in LMICs, leveraging funding from governments, multilateral development banks, the IMF, and private donors.
Please see the framework for more detail on each step and a full list of signatories.
Significant updates, news, and trends we saw last week:
The US FDA provided full approval this week of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine in people ages 16 and older, its first full approval for any COVID-19 vaccine. Use in children ages 12 to 15 is still covered under emergency use authorization.
The US also announced that 50% of adolescents aged 12 to 17 have now received at least their first dose and this group has the fastest growing vaccination rate in the US.
Despite domestic manufacturing, Thailand is facing significant shortages of vaccine in the face of surging infections and is in talks to purchase surplus doses from Europe and is “borrowing” doses from neighboring Bhutan.
Pfizer and BioNTech have signed a manufacturing agreement with Eurofarma in Brazil, their first manufacturing partnership in Latin America. Eurofarma will provide fill-finish production of the mRNA vaccine, using drug substance produced in the US, beginning in 2022, with an annual capacity of 100 million doses per year at full capacity.
The Philippines gave emergency use approval this week to the single-dose Sputnik Light vaccine (which is the first dose of the two-dose Sputnik V vaccine).
Japan has suspended the use of some Moderna vaccine doses after “foreign materials” were found in the vials, which were manufactured by Rovi in Spain.
A recent article in the New York Times explores the shortfalls of the US vaccine donations so far and the need for a global response that prioritizes first and second doses.
The Atlantic writes about the tensions inherent in booster policies for wealthy countries that do not appear to be learning the lessons of the past year.
In a study of 29 million people in England, published this week in BMJ, researchers found that the risk of hospital admission or death from blood clots is higher from COVID-19 infection than from receiving either the Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines.
NEW INSIGHTS, September 3, 2021
Multilateral Leaders Taskforce on COVID-19 (MLT), along with WHO, IMF, WBG and WTO issued a statement to address vaccine inequityafter holding a meeting with Africa CDC, GAVI, and UNICEF.