'Lift export bans' says Africa; 100 million doses set to expire: Airfinity

Newsletter Edition #91 [The Weekly Primer]

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Hi,

New York. Geneva. Brussels. Addis Ababa. New Delhi. Jakarta.

This loaded edition has news from all these centers of power. Brace up for a tumultuous journey in international health policy-making in the coming weeks.

If Global Health had a Chief Logistics Officer, he/she would have been fired long ago. The baffling reality of Vaccine Apartheid and millions of doses expiring at the same time is too real for every single life lost as a result of this ignominious failure. As much as it is time for accountability, it is never too late for collective responsibility.

Given the policy-deluge over the next months, we are planning on experimenting with a new format for our exclusive Friday editions to have shorter, but more numerous updates so that we have you covered on the competing agendas inside Global Health Geneva. Subscribe to keep pace.

Catch up with our in-depth analysis from last week: TRIPS Waiver opponents ring-fenced by growing support for proposal.

We also apologize for occasional, unintended grammatical errors in our copy. The pace and the volume of news is no excuse, but I promise to do better.

Until later!

Best,

Priti

Feel free to write to us: patnaik.reporting@gmail.com or genevahealthfiles@protonmail.com; Follow us on Twitter: @filesgeneva


I. POLICY UPDATES

- The message from Africa: WHO

WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 14 September 2021

Excerpts from the briefing that saw African policymakers in form:

“.. as AVAT and the African Union we want to buy vaccines. We're not asking for donations. You can donate to us if you so wish but our basis is not a donation. That means we want access to purchase. We call on those countries that have put restrictions on exports of vaccines as finished products, exports of ingredients, drug substance; these restrictions are even more urgent for us today than intellectual property because the intellectual property doesn't deliver vaccine to us tomorrow.

But an export ban lifted in the United States, in Japan, in China, in South Korea, India; that will give us vaccines immediately so we urge you to put that into the mix. We always appreciate a donation but a donation is at the discretion of the donor. We want to buy at the same time. Thank you…”…

…." Most of those vaccines would come to us in Africa if the restrictions were lifted. We understood at the time why they were put in place because there was that massive surge in India and we were incredibly sympathetic. But we do now urge our colleagues to show sympathy to us because we are the ones facing difficulty now. We need to see some of those vaccines begin to come through….”

- U.S. to buy hundreds of millions more doses of Pfizer vaccine to donate to the world: Washington Post

Also: Three steps for Biden’s global Covid summit climb: Politico; WHO & African Leaders Pin Hopes on Biden’s ‘Global COVID-19 Summit’ for ‘New Deal’ on Pandemic Response: Health Policy Watch)

“The Biden administration is buying hundreds of millions more doses of the
Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine to donate to the world, according to
two people familiar with the deal, as the United States looks to increase
efforts to share vaccine with the global population.

The administration is expected to purchase 500 million doses, but the terms
are not finalized, said the people with knowledge of the deal, who spoke on
the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the
donation.

The announcement of the purchase is slated for early next week and timed to
coincide with the U.N. General Assembly meeting.”

Washington Post

- COVID-19 vaccine expiry forecast for 2021 and 2022: Airfinity

Airfinity estimates the G7 and EU will have 1 billion more vaccines than they need by the end of 2021, 10% of these are expected to expire this year too.

- India to resume COVID-19 vaccine exports next month: The Hindu

There have been enough indications over the past weeks that India will unblock the access to vaccines doses intended for the COVAX Facility. This would come as a succor to developing countries affected by this freeze on doses from the subcontinent.

- FDA panel votes against Pfizer’s Covid-19 booster jab application: Financial Times

“Scientific advisers to the US Food and Drug Administration have voted overwhelmingly against Pfizer’s application to offer a third shot of its Covid-19 vaccine to everyone over 16, dealing a serious blow to the Biden administration’s plans for a widespread booster programme.

Members of the regulator’s vaccine advisory committee voted 16-2 on Friday against endorsing a booster of the two-dose BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine for Americans aged 16 or older at least six months after receiving their second shot.

They subsequently voted unanimously to authorise a third shot only for over-65s, anyone at high risk of contracting severe Covid-19, and people whose jobs expose them to the virus, such as healthcare workers.”

Financial Times

- African Union needs an extra $300M to up its COVID-19 vaccination goal: Devex

- Exclusive-Indonesia in talks with WHO to become global vaccine hub: minister - Reuters

- Indian Civil Society letter to J&J

“600 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine currently being made in India cannot go to the European Union or the United States; they must go where they are most needed.

Johnson & Johnson has failed to produce enough of its own vaccine; the United States Government has the power to make them license manufacturers all over the world in order to make billions more doses of their vaccine available.”

- WHO's Tedros seen running unopposed for top job despite Ethiopia snub - sources: Reuters

- WHO Technical Advisory Group on the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool: WHO

- WTO DG says failure at MC12 not an option, urges a “Plan B”: Third World Network

- European Union: more empty promises about global COVID-19 vaccine equity: MSF

- HERA isn’t the hero Parliament wants — or the game-changer Council fears: Politico

- The fight to manufacture COVID vaccines in lower-income countries: Nature

- Artificial intelligence risks to privacy demand urgent action – Bachelet: UNHCR


II. WHAT WE FOUND INTERESTING

NEWS:

FROM THE JOURNALS/REPORTS

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III. WHAT WE ARE WATCHING

IV. TWEETS OF THE WEEK

On WHO DG elections:

On the EU: German MEP Bernd Lange, chair of the European Parliament's international trade committee


V. OBITUARY

Statement on the passing of John Ruggie (1944-2021): UN Global Compact

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