[Policy debates during the pandemic: WEBINAR 2]
The webinar series Policy debates during the pandemic keeps the Gastein-dialogue going during the COVID-19 crisis and addresses burning questions from the viewpoints of the EHFG’s four pillars – public and private sector, civil society and science & academia.
The quest for a COVID-19 vaccine has, at least in terms of media rhetoric, developed the touch and feel of a Space Race retake – as opposed to a race of a united global community against time and a mounting global death toll. Combatting COVID-19 is not achievable by individual nations or even world regions. Multilateral endeavours such as COVAX could provide the framework for a just distribution of the resources needed to face the pandemic, including equitable access to a potential vaccine. Multi-stakeholder initiatives can remind us that we are stronger together and disincentivise a first come, first served mentality where individual nation states try to secure prime spots in the queue for a pandemic quick fix. We need to address hardened fronts between sectors and be open for rethinking alliances, taking on board important - and sometimes painfully gained - insights about what challenges of the magnitude of COVID-19 require us to do. An accessible vaccine is in the public (health) interest of the European Union and each of its Members States, and it is a public good that loses much of its value if not distributed fairly.
The second webinar in the series on September 11th considered how COVID-19 has reshaped the vaccines landscape in terms of R&D, procurement, and international cooperation. Has a new distribution of stakeholder roles and responsibilities emerged and if so, what are the implications and are they here to stay, to help tackle future crises? The webinar discussed the private and public sector responses to COVID-19 as well as challenges, opportunities, incentives and timelines around therapeutics, diagnostics and potential vaccines. The ongoing pandemic has shown the degree of cross-country and cross-stakeholder collaboration that can be mobilised swiftly and at short notice with the necessary political will. Could the current situation successfully produce the traction for sustainably and equitably changing today’s pharmaceutical R&D reality, especially in regard to vaccines development?
Senior vaccines policy advisor, Médecins Sans Frontières Access Campaign
Deputy CEO and Director of People, Planning and Policy, Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations
Director General, International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers
Clemens Martin Auer
President, European Health Forum Gastein/Special Envoy for Health at the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection
Founding Director, Global Health Programme, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland