Access and equal distribution of vaccines are essential in managing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The current challenges of vaccine inequality demand a re-examination of the vaccine distribution mechanisms. In this seminar GRIP in cooperation with the Pandemic Centre at UIB explored the vaccine distribution mechanisms, and looked for possibilities to facilitate more equal, fair and sustainable futures.
During the webinar, the panellists addressed questions such as: what are the consequences of wealthier nations grabbing most of the global vaccine supply? How does it affect pandemic control on a local and global scale? What are the current models for vaccine distribution in Norway and beyond and are there more just and fair possible alternatives?
Gagandeep Kang argued that not only do we need vaccine donations to poorer countries, we also need to plan the vaccine distribution properly, otherwise, we risk that only the elites will receive vaccines – as we have seen with donations from India and China. Henriette Aasen and John-Arne Røttingen pointed out that there is a lack of legal framework for cooperation and vaccine distribution at an international level, and that this issue needs to be addressed more properly. Vaccine donations are the «quick fix» for the pandemic, however, Røttingen argues that we need to be realistic: we must work on expanding vaccine production capabilities in all regions so that countries that are not able to buy the vaccine can rather produce them themselves. Both Mosoka P. Fallah and Erlend Grønningen reminded us that vaccine distribution is in fact a matter of global security and that the consequences of unequal distribution ultimately will affect us all.
If you are interested in the complexity surrounding vaccine distribution and production we highly recommend that you catch up on this webinar.
Dr John-Arne Røttingen: Røttingen is Norway’s global health ambassador and oversees Norway`s global health efforts and participation in international activities to combat Covid-19. He was the founding Chief Executive Officer of CEPI – Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Røttingen also chairs the Executive Group and the International Steering Committee of the WHO’ Solidarity trial. In 2021 Røttingen was appointed by the G20 to the High-Level Independent Panel (HLIP) on financing the global commons for pandemic preparedness and response.
Dr Mosoka P Fallah: Fallah is the Founder and Executive Director of Refuge Place International, an NGO in Liberia addressing access to affordable quality health care for poor urban and rural dwellers. He and his team are currently working to rapidly scale up this successful model across the country. Until recently, Mosoka was the Director-General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, which he co-founded in 2017. He was named one of Time Magazine’s Persons of the Year in 2014 for his Ebola relief efforts in Liberia.
Professor Gagandeep Kang: Kang is a Professor of Microbiology, at the Wellcome Trust Research Laboratory at the Christian Medical College (CMC) in Vellore and she is one of India’s leading experts on vaccines. She has worked on the development and use of vaccines for rotaviruses, cholera and typhoid, conducting large studies to define burden, test vaccines and measure their impact. She is a member of several advisory committees for the WHO. In 2016 she was awarded the prestigious Infosys Prize in Life Sciences for her contributions to understanding the natural history of rotavirus and other infectious diseases.
Professor Henriette Sinding Aasen: A professor of law from the University of Bergen, she is a well-established researcher in the field of health and human rights, including access to healthcare services for vulnerable groups, patient rights, and the relationship between welfare state regulations and social citizenship. She has extensive experience in leading and collaborating in interdisciplinary research projects. A main theme in her projects is the role of socio-economic human rights in advancing human dignity and democracy.
Erlend Grønningen: Grønningen is a board member of Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders and Grønningen has been the acting spokesperson for MSF in Norway throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. He is a specialist in internal medicine and lung diseases and works as a chief physician at the Oslo University Hospital. In addition, he is also an engaged field doctor at MSF and a PhD candidate at the Center for International Health at the University of Bergen.