Countries must avoid `vaccine nationalism’; world need rules-based regime for fair distribution of Covid vaccine, say experts

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By: Express News Service | Pune | Published: August 12, 2020 11:14:27 pm

covid-19, coronavirus, coronavirus vaccine, coronavirus vaccine race, coronavirus vaccine nationalism, indian express newsMultilateral agencies such as WHO can put in place collaborative frameworks wherein a variety of actors pool resources to develop and make available a safe and effective vaccine. (Representational)

To achieve fair and equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, it is imperative to develop a rules-based regime, experts have said in a policy brief published in the Observer Research Foundation. The brief examined challenges that India must face to successfully manufacture and distribute a vaccine.

The World Health Organisation and World Trade Organisation (WHO) must step in to prevent cartelisation or profiteering, the brief stated, adding that countries must avoid “vaccine nationalism”, which will not only be detrimental to public health but also to the global economy.

“It is difficult to determine which of the candidates for vaccine development will succeed. So, manufacturers, multilateral organisations and governments must adopt various strategies to ensure access to the vaccine, or vaccines, which finally get approval by a national regulator and the WHO,” the brief said.

“Manufacturers may invest in developing their own vaccine or sign a licensing agreement with developers of one or more vaccine candidates that are under trial, or decide to do both. Multilateral agencies such as WHO can put in place collaborative frameworks wherein a variety of actors pool resources to develop and make available a safe and effective vaccine,” the brief added.

Shardul Manurkar, who is lead (Legislative Research) at CPC Analytics – a data-driven consulting firm based in Berlin, Pune and Strasbourg, Sahil Deo, co-founder of CPC Analytic, and others, have said in the policy brief that a Covid-19 vaccine must be treated as a public good, aimed at saving maximum number of lives.

The brief suggests a multi-parameter model based on age, comorbidity, income and profession to justify one’s claim for a vaccine. The estimated adult population at risk due to Covid-19 ranges between 56.9 and 77 million. So, initial batches of vaccine must prioritise these high risk populations, the experts said. Governments must establish a task force to determine accessibility, production and distribution of Covid-19 vaccine, the brief said. It must develop a vaccine rationing “decision tree” for clinicians, experts urged.

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