Of Elections and Booster Campaigns

Newsletter Edition #89 [The Weekly Primer]

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Politics and policies away from Geneva can significantly alter plans for global health taking shape here.

Just as this edition went to print, there is excitement about Norwegian elections this morning in Europe.

Jonas Gahr Store, Norway’s likely new prime minister, was formerly chief of staff at WHO. Norway plays a critical role not only at the helm of the ACT Accelerator. The Norwegian Ambassador to the WTO is the chair of the TRIPS Council at a time when the discussions on the TRIPS Waiver are entering a critical stage. Fascinating how these events come together.

Meanwhile, though the U.S. is determined to move ahead with its “booster campaign”, there are disagreements among American institutions on the way forward. This could have implications for the overall access to vaccine doses in the wider world.

And finally, it seems that far away from Geneva, geopolitics is working its way to “pressure India to restart vaccine export plans”.

All of these elements converge here in Geneva - the crucible of international health policy-making and yet, a place whose center is constantly shifting. Here is a link to our first podcast episode, a part of a pilot series that attempts to interpret Global Health Geneva. In case you missed it over the weekend, tune in and let us know your feedback!

Catch up with our analysis from last week by subscribing to us: The politics of surplus production & vaccine scarcity.

Until later!



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

Flash Summer Sale


- Tensions mount between CDC and Biden health team over boosters: Politico

- FDA vaccine regulators argue against Covid-19 vaccine boosters in new international review: STAT News

- White House invites global leaders to virtual summit next week, seeking agreement on how to end pandemic: Washington Post

- Statement by White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki on the Quad Leaders Summit

- The Modi shot campaign: Axios

“The Biden administration is quietly pressuring India to restart vaccine exports with plans to offer a higher-profile role for Prime Minister Narendra Modi at an upcoming COVID-19 global summit in New York if he agrees to release vaccines soon, sources with direct knowledge of the high-level discussions told Axios.”


- Comprehensive Plan for Addressing High Drug Prices by Secretary Xavier Becerra U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

- COVID-19: release approved vaccines for trials of new ones: CEPI in Nature

See also: CEPI warns of major hurdle to developing new Covid-19 vaccines and studying best booster approaches

- License CRISPR patents for free to share gene editing globally: Nature

- The Global Fund Strategy’s Evolving Objective Of Pandemic Preparedness And Response: A response too far? AIDSPAN

“As noted in our special Board issue of the GFO on 12 May (The Proposed New Strategy Framework Provokes Lively Debate), Peter Sands would like the Global Fund to become the ‘go-to’ mechanism for C19 and any future pandemics. He wants to position the Fund at the centre, and one of his arguments for doing so is that, if Global Fund does not take this on, it may not be able to raise enough funds through the upcoming Seventh Replenishment (although to date there is no evidence of this from any donor).”


- INCB, UNODC and WHO Joint Statement on Access to Controlled Medicines in Emergencies

“There is an increase in demand for controlled medicines in emergency responses. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, WHO has identified over 20 medicines with global-level shortages, including four that contain controlled substances that are used in intensive care units for treatment of severe cases of COVID-19. Internationally controlled medicines such as morphine, diazepam and midazolam listed as WHO essential medicines, are vital for the management of pain, palliative care, surgical care and anesthesia, and treatment of drug-use disorders, mental health and neurological conditions.

Shortages impact countries of all income levels. Low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) are often disproportionately impacted by shortages--partly related to their relative purchasing power in international medicines markets and partly because specialized systems to manage controlled medicines do not always accommodate sufficient exceptions for emergencies.

Urgent action is needed to ensure that national systems improve access to controlled medicines for people affected by emergencies, including pandemics, and climate-related disasters.”

- The COVID-19 vaccine race – weekly update: Gavi

- WHO has a newly classified Variant of Interest (VOI), Mu: WHO Weekly Epidemiological Update


My colleague Rithika has put this together for you:





WTO TRIPS Council Informal Meeting: 14 September

WHO Press Briefing- Focus on Africa and COVID-19 Vaccine Equity: 14 September


Katri Bertram at the German Ministry of Health shared this:

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