Vaccinating the World: Will Diplomacy, Nationalism or Profit Motive Prevail?

WED, JUL 21, 2021 (1:13:21)

How can nations gain influence, strengthen alliances and protect their own populations against a global threat? Here’s one way: provide support in the battle against the common enemy. With less than 10 percent of the globe vaccinated and surges in infections from the COVID-19 Delta variant on the rise, getting shots in arms everywhere should be a public health priority, a national security strategy and a moral imperative, especially for high income countries.

Yet vaccine nationalism, underfunded international organizations, and arguments over intellectual property rights, rather than vaccine diplomacy and robust international coordination, have slowed progress.

This week, Foreign Policy Magazine’s Elise Labott moderates a panel discussion to help us understand the complex issues governing the global response to the pandemic to date, the prospects for getting it right in the future and how Covid-19 is shaping geopolitics in a changing world.


Duke University’s data visualizations on inequities in vaccine access:

“The Folly of Hoarding Knowledge in the COVID-19 Age Let Vaccine Producers in Poor Countries Help End the Pandemic,” by Tahir Amin, Foreign Affairs, January 29, 2021

“Covid-19 has exposed the limits of the pharmaceutical market model,” by Tahir Amin and Rohit Malpani, STAT News May 19, 2020

Oxfam’s call for A People’s Vaccine:

Op-Ed “Beyond ample supply, hurdles abound in the race to vaccinate the globe,” By MARK MCCLELLAN, KRISHNA UDAYAKUMAR, MICHAEL MERSON AND GARY EDSON The Hill, July 8, 2021

+ BIO: Abby Maxman

Abby Maxman joined Oxfam America as president and CEO in 2017. With more than 30 years of experience in international humanitarian relief and development, she brings a strategic focus on addressing the policies and systems that perpetuate global poverty. Maxman has particular experience in gender and power in social change; humanitarian preparedness and response; and organizational development, behavior and culture. Throughout her career she has also focused on prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse within the aid sector, and currently plays an important role within the Oxfam Confederation and among US-based NGOs to improve safeguarding practices.

Prior to joining Oxfam, Maxman served as Deputy Secretary General of CARE International in Geneva, providing leadership across the CARE confederation. She previously served as Vice President of International Programs and Operations for CAREUSA, and in other country and regional leadership roles in Africa, Latin America, Asia and the Middle East.

Before CARE, Maxman had assignments with the U.S. Peace Corps, German Agency for Technical Cooperation, UN World Food Programme, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. She has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Colorado College and a Masters of International Administration from The School for International Training in Brattleboro, Vermont.

+ BIO: Dr. Krishna Udayakumar

Dr. Krishna Udayakumar is the founding Director of the Duke Global Health Innovation Center, focused on generating deeper evidence and support for the study, scaling, and adaptation of health innovations and policy reforms globally. He is also Executive Director of Innovations in Healthcare, a non-profit co-founded by Duke, McKinsey & Company, and the World Economic Forum, leading the organization’s work to curate and scale the impact of transformative health solutions globally.

+ BIO: Tahir Amin

Tahir Amin is an attorney with more than 25 years of experience in intellectual property law. From this vantage point, Amin could see clearly how systems are shaped by those with the most resources—and how those outcomes often come at the expense of those with the least. In 2004, Amin gave up his lucrative job in London and moved to Bangalore, India, where he was instrumental to the passage of a health-friendly patent law. That process led him to eventually co-found I-MAK, with the express purpose of re-shaping patent law to better serve the public.

+ BIO: Elise Labott

Elise Labott is an adjunct professor at American University’s School of International Service and a columnist at Foreign Policy. As a correspondent for CNN for two decades, she covered seven secretaries of state and reported from more than 80 countries.

Elise has reported on every major global event since joining CNN, from the Camp David peace talks of 2000, the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Arab Spring and the rise of ISIS. She has reported from the demilitarized zone on tension with North Korea, traveled through the Middle East, Afghanistan and Pakistan as well as has interviewed several heads of state. She was also part of CNN’s multi-award-winning Freedom Project, which produces original reports, articles, and documentaries on human trafficking. Prior to joining CNN, Elise covered the United Nations for ABC News and foreign policy issues for Agence France-Presse and other publications.

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