Foreign Affairs Discussion Group
Date: April 7, 2021
Time: 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Moderated by Barbara Griffiths. All are welcome.
The topic this month is US participation in global vaccine equity efforts, with focus on the humanitarian considerations and the economic/political imperatives to contain the global COVID-19 pandemic. The readings are are below. If you are short of time, read the Kaiser Family Foundation article (no. 3). If you are really pinched for time, just try the 4-mnute NPR interview in no.3. Other than the Foreign Affairs article, all are available online. Just click on the links.
1. Acronym Soup: Global Vaccine Equity has produced some of the worst acronyms ever. To sort them out, the link below is to a WHO (World Health Organization, a United Nations Agency) press release that, after a brief press release entitled COVAX publishes first round of allocations, has a helpful section called Note to Editors. It describes the leading players including COVAX, CEPI, Gavi, and the ACT-Accelerator.2. Backgrounder to global health policy: Useful as a recent history of global health policy trends dealing with HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and Ebola, and now COVID-19. Importantly, the article highlights the public/private partnerships that have developed. The title is System Failure: America Needs a Global Health Policy for the Pandemic Age by Ashish Jha, Dean of the Brown University School of Public Health. The article appears in Foreign Affairs, March/April 2021 issue, pages 103-115.Copies of the article are available at the Witherle Library front desk for overnight lending.3. The details and issues: COVAX and the US is an online article from the Kaiser Family Foundation. The last two pages discuss issues for the United States.
If you are pressed for time, try this 4-minute NPR interview with Tom Bollyky of the Council on Foreign Relations: https://www.npr.org/2021/03/21/979683492/the-importance-of-global-vaccine-equity4. Other views: There are many voices, particularly from health care professionals, supporting a more expansive concept of global vaccine equity. Specifically they include The COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Project (of the Sabin Vaccine Institute, Dalberg and the GSI Research and Training Institute in collaboration with the ACT-Accelerator), and several online articles from medical journals such as The Lancet and the BMJ (British Medical Journal). They seek to address: the price of vaccines, vaccine nationalism, restrictions to vaccine production due to intellectual property protections, and inadequate and unequal investment in public health infrastructure and distribution. Here’s a sample from the British Medical Journal blog:5. Also, there is research to show the economic costs of a failure to address the global nature of the pandemic. An example:6. For those of you with time and curiosity, check out the list of donors to the ACT-Accelerator. Madonna!