Reading the COVAX forecast

Even as Geneva-based health organizations announced forecasts for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines, countries in some parts of the world fear that their promised deliveries for vaccines were now being reprioritized by some manufacturers affiliated with the COVAX Facility. There is not enough clarity yet on how many countries will be affected in the short term. This story parses through the official statements made by health agencies and contrasts it with publicly available information which suggest that bilateral deals between vaccines manufacturers and countries have begun to have an impact on vaccine deliveries for the COVAX facility as many had … Continue reading Reading the COVAX forecast

COVAX & the question of liability: COVID-19 vaccines

Even as uncertainties around vaccines supply to much of the developing world remain, there are complex questions on liabilities awaiting downstream of this massive, global vaccination exercise. Authorities in Geneva claim that the yet unseen challenges on fixing liability issues have been addressed in the form of a no-fault compensation fund that will pay for claims arising out of the introduction of vaccines in the developing world. This expansive analysis takes a close look at some of the technical, political and economic compulsions that have shaped liability discussions within the COVAX Facility. Last week top officials of WHO told the … Continue reading COVAX & the question of liability: COVID-19 vaccines

A pandemic treaty: reforming global health security

For months experts and critics have been exhorting WHO and its member states to use the organization’s constitutional mandate specifically its treaty-making powers to deftly address the urgency of the pandemic. Mostly critics want WHO to use its constitutional powers to quell the pandemic and to address the difficult issue of access to medicines, for example, given the glaring inequities in the access to vaccines during the current pandemic. However, given the inexorable emphasis on global health security, it was perhaps not so surprising when DG Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus casually put the idea of a pandemic treaty to member states during the … Continue reading A pandemic treaty: reforming global health security

Sticky post

Some of our top stories of 2020

Capturing policy-making on the pandemic in real-time: stories from Geneva Health Files I seek to make this a reader-funded initiative. You can make a contribution using a paypal account: Your donations are crucial to keep this effort going! If you wish to share information or have suggestions, write to me: Continue reading Some of our top stories of 2020

“Solidarity is not fairness”

The World Health Assembly draws all member states of World Health Organization to discuss health challenges, review actions, debate proposals and set future goals. It entrusts the secretariat to consult and engage with countries and other actors to coordinate vast areas of global health policy. This complex mechanism, some say, is now under threat. In this story, we will see why process matters and how it eventually impacts member states participation during the worst health emergency in a century. In addition, concomitant developments this week, dominated global health agenda. This crowded out the Assembly. Events that unfolded outside of the … Continue reading “Solidarity is not fairness”

Philosophers seek to make space in pandemic response

Sridhar Venkatapuram, is an Associate Professor at the Global Health Institute, King’s College London. He has spearheaded the Independent Resource Group for Global Health Justice (IRG-GHJ “URGE”), along with other philosophers and experts to address the some of the biggest questions of the times we are now living in. You can also watch this recent event where these experts lucidly explain what they intend to do in getting organizations to discuss complex global justice matters and the ethical issues that this pandemic has thrown up. He spoke to Geneva Health Files at length on how issues around allocation and distribution of medical products, for … Continue reading Philosophers seek to make space in pandemic response

A peek into COVAX machine

INSIDE COVAX: CONTRACTS & GOVERNANCE A closer look at the model contracts issued by the COVAX Facility and how it will be governed Gavi’s COVAX Facility is gearing into operations mode, from acquiring an approved legal status, to building its governance structure; issuing contracts to participating countries to negotiating deals with vaccine manufacturers; the COVID-19 vaccine machine is here. Contentious issues including liability provisions for participating countries and cost-sharing for vaccines doses for low and middle-income countries continue to hashed out behind the scenes. More than 180 countries are set to have joined the Facility. This story is based on a review … Continue reading A peek into COVAX machine

Gavi’s Discomfort With Civil Society on Vaccines

The hesitation of letting the door open to include civil society organizations, to effectively contribute to defining discussions on vaccines for the pandemic, especially for a massive immunization agency, is perplexing. Gavi – The Vaccine Alliance has vaccinated more than 820 million children, is backed by the most powerful funders of global health, and has received nearly $2 billion in pledges every year for the last few years[1]. Why is one of the biggest agencies in global health, wary of activists? Geneva Health Files tried to understand the reasons behind Gavi’s insistence on excluding Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) on COVID-19 … Continue reading Gavi’s Discomfort With Civil Society on Vaccines

Sticky post

The Covax Exchange: Gavi’s plans to let countries trade in vaccines

On Gavi’s table: plans to let countries trade “vaccine credits” like stocks Vaccines for COVID-19 are not yet a reality, but plans are afoot to enable trading in stocks of potential vaccines. Gavi says the plan will allow countries to exchange vaccines doses with each other, allowing each economy to optimise to their own needs. In order to get a firm commitment from rich countries to commit to buying vaccines from Gavi’s Covax Facility, the immunization agency is working on a plan for a “Covax Exchange” – where countries can trade their ‘vaccine credits’, according to sources. This is ostensibly … Continue reading The Covax Exchange: Gavi’s plans to let countries trade in vaccines

Sticky post

GAVI COVAX FACILITY: Questions on access, pricing & governance

A first look at Gavi’s COVID-19 Global Access COVAX Facility (Preliminary Technical design) Gavi – The Vaccine Alliance, is putting together a plan to devise the supply of COVID19 vaccines when they become available, to those who need it. The question of how should the world work towards equitable access, is an incredibly complex one. Gavi’s plan, does not answer this question, yet. The keys to this question,  may lie in how the politics of vaccines plays out in the coming weeks and months. Gavi’s plan, a work in progress, raises worrying questions on its ability to ensure equitable access, … Continue reading GAVI COVAX FACILITY: Questions on access, pricing & governance