KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report
In The News
- U.N. SG Calls On Nations To Fully Fund COVAX To Reduce Vaccine Distribution Inequity, Warns Vaccine Nationalism Spreading 'With Full Speed'
AP: U.N. chief warns ‘vaccine nationalism’ is moving at full speed
“Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Wednesday that ‘vaccine nationalism’ is moving ‘at full speed,’ leaving poor people around the globe watching preparations for inoculations against the coronavirus in some rich nations and wondering if and when they will be vaccinated. The U.N. chief reiterated his call for vaccines to be treated as ‘a global public good,’ available to everyone, everywhere on the planet, especially in Africa. And he appealed for $4.2 billion in the next two months for the World Health Organization’s COVAX program, an ambitious project to buy and deliver coronavirus vaccines for the world’s poorest people…” (Lederer, 12/10).
U.N. News: Fund COVAX to reduce COVID vaccination distribution inequity — U.N. chief
“With so-called vaccine nationalism spreading ‘with full speed,’ the Secretary-General told a journalists, following the fourth annual African Union-U.N. conference, that the continent must be ‘effectively supported’ to fight the pandemic everywhere. The COVAX international vaccine initiative requires $4.2 billion over the next two months to ensure that ‘sooner rather than later,’ World Health Organization (WHO)-approved inoculation can get underway in Africa, U.N. chief António Guterres said…” (12/9).
- Africa, Latin America Likely Will Not Receive COVID-19 Vaccines Until Later 2021 Or After, Health Officials Warn; Canada Authorizes Pfizer Vaccine, U.S. Set To Decide; China Pushes Vaccine Diplomacy
AP: African health official blasts ‘terrible’ vaccine inequality
” ‘It will be extremely terrible to see’ rich countries receiving COVID-19 vaccines while African countries go without, especially as a new surge in cases begins on the continent of 1.3 billion people, Africa’s top public health official said Thursday. As the world watches mass vaccinations begin in Britain, Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director John Nkengasong has warned that Africa might not see vaccines until after the second quarter of 2021. Nkengasong urged the United Nations to summon a special session to discuss the ethical, fair distribution of vaccines to avoid ‘this North-South distrust in respect to vaccines, which is a common good’…” (Anna, 12/10).
Reuters: COVID-19 vaccine supply in Americas to take many months — WHO
“Latin American countries will not get enough COVID-19 vaccines for months when they come available and they should develop immunization plans focusing first on health workers and the elderly, the World Health Organization advised on Wednesday. Its regional branch for the Americas, PAHO, warned that vaccines being developed now will take months to arrive and supplies might not become sufficient until after 2021…” (Boadle, 12/9).
PRI: Vaccine wars: Brazil needs China’s COVID-19 shot, but Bolsonaro prefers Oxford jab (Hackel, 12/9).
Financial Times: Canada prepares to roll out Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine next week (Rocco/Kuchler, 12/9).
The Hill: Canada authorizes Pfizer coronavirus vaccine (Sullivan, 12/9).
CNBC: Developing nations are first in line for China’s Covid vaccines. Analysts question Beijing’s intent (Ng, 12/9).
New York Times: Chinese Covid-19 Vaccine Gets Key Push, but Doubts Swirl (Wee, 12/9).
Science: Great efficacy claimed for another COVID-19 vaccine, this one from China (Cohen, 12/9).
AP: India says it may approve vaccine in weeks, outlines plan (Ghosal, 12/9).
Reuters: Factbox — Indian pharma industry’s COVID-19 vaccine plans (12/10).
CNN: How the U.K. beat the U.S. to Covid-19 vaccine authorization (Hassan, 12/9).
AP: Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine faces last hurdle before U.S. decision (Neergaard/Perrone, 12/10).
Devex: What Trump plans to do with America’s leftover COVID-19 vaccines (Igoe, 12/10).
The Hill: U.S. to distribute 2.9 million COVID-19 vaccine doses immediately upon FDA authorization (Bowden, 12/9).
Scientific American: FDA Commissioner Says Vaccine Approval Process Will Be Transparent and Guided by Data (Lewis, 12/10).
- Gates Foundation Announces Additional $250M For COVID-19 Diagnostics, Treatments, Vaccines; World 'Not On Track' For Equitable Vaccine Distribution, CEO Suzman Says In Devex Interview
Devex: Gates Foundation COVID-19 commitment reaches $1.75B with latest pledge
“The world is ‘not on track’ for an equitable COVID-19 vaccine rollout, according to Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Despite the unprecedented pace of progress in research and development for COVID-19 vaccines, a number of barriers stand in the way of getting these scientific breakthroughs to everyone who needs them, Suzman told Raj Kumar, president and editor-in-chief at Devex, in an interview for Devex World…” (Cheney, 12/10).
Seattle Times: Gates Foundation boosts funding to get coronavirus vaccines to the world’s poorest people
“…The giant Seattle philanthropy announced late Wednesday that it will spend an additional $250 million — its single largest contribution so far — to accelerate development and delivery of diagnostics, drugs, and vaccines. … The latest donation brings the foundation’s total pandemic-related grants to $1 billion. The foundation has also earmarked $750 million for forgivable loans and other financing mechanisms through an investment fund that reinvests returns in charitable causes…” (Doughton, 12/9).
- Bloomberg Examines Controversy Over World Bank's Pandemic Bonds
Bloomberg: How Pandemic Bonds Became the World’s Most Controversial Investment
“…As Covid-19’s devastating human and economic tolls continue to rise, the controversy over pandemic bonds is part of a wider debate over how policy makers should respond to viral outbreaks and who should foot the bill. The harshest critics of the World Bank’s experiment have questioned whether it’s appropriate to tie responsibility for public health to private investment at all. Others stop short of rejecting the premise wholesale, calling instead for more innovation and perseverance…” (Alloway/Vossos).
- U.N. SG Guterres Urges Member States To Fully Fund CERF Amid Rising Humanitarian Needs, Ongoing Pandemic
Devex: Despite pandemic, CERF on ‘solid footing’ to match humanitarian needs
“Amid rising humanitarian needs and an ongoing pandemic, United Nations Chief António Guterres pressed member states to fully fund the Central Emergency Response Fund and bring it close to its unmet goal of $1 billion in funding per year. ‘A $1 billion CERF is a bare minimum to effectively help people trapped in emergencies,’ Guterres said in a statement. … CERF — an independent arm of the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs that can quickly dispense emergency, unearmarked funding to U.N. agencies and nonprofits — held its annual high-level pledging event on Tuesday. Over 50 donors announced pledges during the livestreamed event, totaling $370 million for 2021 — higher than the initial amount pledged a year ago in 2020, according to OCHA…” (Lieberman, 12/9).
- Global COVID-19 Response, Recovery Must Put Human Rights At Forefront, U.N. SG Says On Human Rights Day
U.N. News: Human rights must be ‘front and center’ of COVID-19 response: Secretary-General
“U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has called for human rights to be put ‘front and center’ of COVID-19 response and recovery globally in order to achieve a better future for people everywhere. The U.N. chief made the appeal in his message for Human Rights Day, observed on Thursday. ‘People and their rights must be front and center of response and recovery. We need universal, rights-based frameworks like health coverage for all, to beat this pandemic and protect us for the future,’ he said…” (12/10).
- Number Of New COVID-19 Cases Stabilizing Globally, But Deaths Continue To Rise
CIDRAP News: Global cases stabilizing, but COVID deaths continue to climb
“Global incidence of new COVID-19 cases remained high but stable for the second week in a row, while global coronavirus deaths increased, according to the latest weekly epidemiologic update from the World Health Organization (WHO). … The WHO update showed just under 4 million reported COVID-19 cases in the past 7 days, nearly half of which came from the Region of the Americas, which saw a 12% increase from the previous week…” (Dall, 12/9).
Reuters provides a factbox on the latest worldwide coronavirus statistics and news.
- People Living Longer, But More Dying Of Noncommunicable Diseases Globally, WHO Estimates Show
The Guardian: Heart disease, cancer and diabetes were biggest killers of 2019, says WHO
“Noncommunicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes are now the leading causes of death in the world, in a dramatic change from two decades ago. They now make up seven of the top 10 causes of death, an increase from four out of 10 in 2000, with heart disease the biggest killer — accounting for 16% of all deaths. According to estimates published today by the World Health Organization (WHO), Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are now among the top 10 causes of death, while deaths from diabetes increased 70% globally between 2000 and 2019…” (Hodal, 12/10).
VOA News: WHO: People Living Longer, but With More Disabilities
“New global health estimates find people are living six years longer now than 20 years ago, but many more people are living with disabilities that affect their quality of life. The World Health Organization reports life expectancy has gone up from 67 years to 73 years since 2000. Over this period, it notes progress has been made in reducing deaths from a number of communicable diseases. For example, the WHO says HIV/AIDS has dropped from the 8th leading cause of death in 2000 to the 19th in 2019. And tuberculosis, it says, no longer figures among the global top 10 ranked diseases, falling from 7th place to 13th position over the past two decades…” (Schlein, 12/9).
- Latin America Facing Growing Hunger, Obesity Rates, U.N. Report Shows
NPR: Latin America Is Facing A Hunger Pandemic
“Latin America is facing a pandemic of malnutrition. Hunger and obesity are rising side by side in the region. The working poor who can’t afford a nutritious diet are suffering at times from a lack of food and at others from an overabundance of poor-quality food. A new report from a consortium of United Nations agencies finds that the number of people experiencing hunger in Latin America has grown steadily over the past five years…” (Beaubien, 12/9).
Additional coverage of the report is available from Global Citizen.
- 80M People Displaced Globally In 2020, Reaching Record Level, U.N. Says
Al Jazeera: More uprooted, fewer return, pushing forcibly displaced above 80 million
“Despite calls for ceasefires and compassion amid the coronavirus pandemic, violence and persecution have continued to force people from their homes, with record numbers now displaced, says the United Nations. By the end of 2019, 79.5 million people were living uprooted and displaced, including nearly 30 million refugees — more than one percent of the world’s population. The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) on Wednesday said preliminary figures showed more people had been forced to flee in 2020, pushing the number past 80 million…” (12/9).
U.N. News: More uprooted, fewer return, pushing forcibly displaced above 80 million
“The year saw a continuation of the conflicts and humanitarian crises in Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mozambique, Somalia, and Yemen that have driven people from their homes in previous years, as well as significant new displacement resulting from brutal violence, including rape and executions, across Africa’s Central Sahel region. But 2020 also added a new factor: the COVID-19 pandemic…” (12/9).
- WFP Executive Director David Beasley To Accept Nobel Peace Prize On Behalf Of Agency, Discusses Food Security Challenges In TIME Interview
TIME: ‘2021 Is Going To Be Catastrophic.’ For the Director of the World Food Programme, Winning the Nobel Peace Prize Is No Cause for Celebration
“…On Dec. 10, [World Food Programme Executive Director David Beasley] will accept the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the WFP. In an interview ahead of his acceptance speech, edited for length and clarity, he told TIME about the impact of COVID-19 on global food security, why 2021 promises to pose a far greater challenge than 2020, and what can be done to mitigate the hunger pandemic…” (Hincks, 12/9).
- White House Coronavirus Coordinator Birx Seeks Role In Biden Administration
AP: Trump virus coordinator Birx seeks role in Biden government
“When Dr. Deborah Birx was brought into President Donald Trump’s orbit to help fight the coronavirus pandemic, she had a sterling reputation as a former U.S. Army physician, a globally recognized AIDS researcher and a rare Obama administration holdover. Less than 10 months later, as Trump’s time in office nears its end, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator’s reputation is frayed. And after serving every president since Ronald Reagan, her future in the incoming Joe Biden administration is uncertain. … Birx has made clear that she wants to stick around to help the Biden administration roll out vaccines and persuade the American people to be inoculated…” (Madhani/Miller, 12/10).
- More COVID-19 & Global Health News
AP: South Africa sees sharp rise in virus, part of African wave (Magome, 12/10).
Borgen Magazine: Dr. Joseph Hogan on Pooled Testing for HIV/AIDS (Hogan, 12/9).
Devex: What should change after COVID-19, according to the stars of Netflix’s ‘Pandemic’ series (Ravelo, 12/10).
Devex: U.K. Parliament’s International Development Committee saved (Worley, 12/10).
Devex: Devex World 2020: Live updates and news (12/10).
Homeland Preparedness News: WHO to unveil latest evidence, tech and practices for screening those at risk of tuberculosis (Galford, 12/9).
NPR: ‘The Perfect Storm’: How Vaccine Misinformation Spread To The Mainstream (Bond, 12/10).
POLITICO: Patent fight pits rich against poor in vaccine race (Paun, 12/10).
Reuters: Hackers steal Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine data in Europe, companies say (Stubbs et al., 12/9).
SciDev.Net: COVID-19, fear and maternal health (Amutabi, 12/9).
Science: Mexico’s coronavirus czar faces criticism as COVID-19 surges (Ortega, 12/9).
Vox: The Weeds: The Next Four Years: The Covid transition (Katz/Yglesias, 12/4).
Editorials and Opinions
- Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Response, Including Vaccines, Human Rights, Economic Recovery, Intellectual Property Protections
Christian Science Monitor: A critical aspect of the vaccination campaign
Editorial Board (12/9).
IPS: Human Rights Must Be at the Heart of the COVID-19 Recovery
Siddharth Chatterjee, United Nations resident coordinator in Kenya (12/9).
New York Times: The Coronavirus Vaccines Were Developed in Record Speed. Now, the Hard Part
Editorial Board (12/9).
New York Times: The Risk in Suspending Vaccine Patent Rules
Thomas Cueni, director general of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations (12/10).
Project Syndicate: A Post-War Playbook for a Post-COVID Recovery
Maximo Torero, chief economist of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (12/9).
- Opinion Pieces Discuss Opportunities, Challenges For Incoming Biden-Harris Administration, Including Addressing Inequality, U.S. Diplomacy, Global Women's Rights
Devex: Opinion: ‘Power Switch’ — How we can reverse extreme inequality
Paul O’Brien, vice president of Oxfam America and author (12/9).
The Hill: ‘Gumbo Diplomacy’ and the rise of Linda Thomas-Greenfield
K. Riva Levinson, president and CEO of KRL International LLC and author (12/9).
Ms. Magazine: What Women Can Expect from a Biden Presidency: On Global Women’s Rights
Carrie N. Baker, professor in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College, author, and president of the Abortion Rights Fund of Western Massachusetts, and Isabel Fields, undergraduate student at Smith College (12/9).
- As Hunger Crisis In Yemen Intensifies, U.K., Other Donors Must Act, WFP Head Says In Opinion Piece
The Guardian: A Nobel prize for feeding the world can’t erase the shame of Yemen’s starving children
David Beasley, executive director of the U.N. World Food Programme
“…We are losing the battle against hunger as never before. And we are losing it most in Yemen. Last week WFP and its partners UNICEF and the Food and Agriculture Organization issued yet another appeal for Yemen as the crisis intensifies again. … Hunger in Yemen is complex — fighting still rages and donor confidence is ebbing, while food prices are up 140%. … Millions are food insecure and famine-like conditions have begun to appear. It is, simply put, a country in chaos. But we have brought Yemen back from the brink before. As the next chair for the G7, the U.K. can help gain desperately needed donor attention. … We cannot let hunger simply fade into the background in the age of Covid-19. … What is happening in Yemen now is a shame. We all share that shame and we need to end it together” (12/10).
From the Global Health Policy Community
- Governments, Pharmaceutical Companies Must Take Urgent Action To Help LMICs Vaccinate Populations, Group Of Organizations Warn
Amnesty International: Campaigners warn that 9 out of 10 people in poor countries are set to miss out on COVID-19 vaccine next year
“Nearly 70 poor countries will only be able to vaccinate one in ten people against COVID-19 next year unless urgent action is taken by governments and the pharmaceutical industry to make sure enough doses are produced, a group of campaigning organizations warned [Wednesday]. By contrast, wealthier nations have bought up enough doses to vaccinate their entire populations nearly three times over by the end of 2021 if those currently in clinical trials are all approved for use. … Updated data show that rich nations representing just 14 percent of the world’s population have bought up 53 percent of all the most promising vaccines so far…” (12/9).
- UNAIDS Launches Solidarity Fund To Help Key Populations During COVID-19 Pandemic; Executive Director Recognizes Human Rights Day In Statement
UNAIDS: Fund to help key populations during COVID-19 launched
“UNAIDS announces the launch of its Solidarity Fund, which will support social entrepreneurs and micro-business owned by key populations facing special hardship during the COVID-19 pandemic. … To be piloted initially in five countries — Brazil, Ghana, India, Madagascar, and Uganda — with a US$ 250,000 budget from UNAIDS, the initiative will scale up to additional countries over the coming months, with a goal of raising an additional US$ 3 million to US$ 5 million in 2021-2022…” (12/10).
UNAIDS: UNAIDS calls on countries to put human rights first to beat pandemics
In a statement on Human Rights Day, which takes place annually on December 10, UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima says, “[I]t is only where rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled that countries can make progress against an epidemic and build fairer societies. … On Human Rights Day, let us commit to ending the inequalities and injustices that fuel AIDS and other pandemics” (12/10).
- Rethinking Humanitarianism Podcast Series Releases 5th Episode On Financing Aid
New Humanitarian/Center for Global Development: Money Talks: Rethinking Humanitarianism Episode 5
In the fifth episode of the Rethinking Humanitarianism podcast series, hosts Jeremy Konyndyk and Heba Aly “dive into how mistrust, monopolies, and perverse incentives are shaping humanitarian response” (12/9).
- KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of Pandemic
KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of December 10, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (12/10).
Additional KFF COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., are available here.