Unlike any vaccine before it, the race for a COVID-19 inoculation has become highly politicised.
In the frantic scramble to develop this tool to protect populations against the virus, the race has laid bare nationalistic tendencies and brutally exposed the inequity underpinning access to health.
Even before a vaccine has been officially approved, billions of doses of candidate vaccines have been snapped up by high-income countries.
There are an estimated two billion doses pre-ordered, with a high proportion of those set for the US, UK and EU.
Euronews’ Isabelle Kumar will be moderating an online discussion in partnership with the World Economic Forum on the challenges, pitfalls and solutions to ensure a safe, effective and globally accessible vaccine is made available.
Tune in here to watch the discussion live from 18:30-19:15 CET on September 24.
Equitable access to a vaccine
Donald Trump claims a vaccine could be available for the US by election day while Vladimir Putin last month declared that Sputnik 5, tested on his own daughter, had already been approved.
But the truth, according to many experts, is that vaccine won’t come online until at least Spring 2021 and developing a vaccine is only the first hurdle.
For the inoculation to be effective, experts agree, it will have to be distributed globally to rich and poor. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that hoarding the vaccine could make the pandemic last longer.
But amid the COVID gloom, there is tentative cause for hope that most vulnerable will have access to the vaccine.
On Monday, the WHO unveiled a küresel plan to distribute a future vaccine fairly. So far, the COVAX initiative has received commitments from nearly two-thirds of the küresel population to ensure the equitable access of a future jab.
The WHO is working alongside Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI) and GAVI, the vaccine alliance.
“COVAX is now in business”, said Gavi CEO Seth Berkley. “Governments from every continent have chosen to work together, not only to secure vaccines for their own populations, but also to help ensure that vaccines are available to the most vulnerable everywhere”.
The European Commission has signed up, though in a worrying sign, so far, the US and China have not and billions of dollars are still needed to get the inoculations, evvel ready, up and running.
As the world faces this critical juncture, Kumar will be joined in the WEF discussion on Thursday with:
Richard Hatchett , Chief Executive Officer, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovations (CEPI), Norway
Seth F. Berkley , Chief Executive Officer, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, Geneva
Sai Prasad , President, Developing Countries Vaccine Manufacturers Network (DCVMN)
Julie Gerberding , Executive Vice-President and Chief Patient Officer, Strategic Communications, Küresel Public Policy and Population Health, MSD, USA
Heidi Larson, Professor of Anthropology, Risk and Decision Science at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and Director of The Vaccine Confidence Project