KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Lower-Income Nations Likely Face Delays In Receiving COVID-19 Vaccines; Canada Pledges $380M To Supply Other Nations With Tests, Treatments, Vaccines; E.U. Weighs Donating 5% Of Vaccine Supplies

AP: Poor countries face long wait for vaccines despite promises
“With Americans, Britons, and Canadians rolling up their sleeves to receive coronavirus vaccines, the route out of the pandemic now seems clear to many in the West, even if the rollout will take many months. But for poorer countries, the road will be far longer and rougher. The ambitious initiative known as COVAX created to ensure the entire world has access to COVID-19 vaccines has secured only a fraction of the 2 billion doses it hopes to buy over the next year, has yet to confirm any actual deals to ship out vaccines and is short on cash…” (Cheng/Ghosal, 12/15).

New York Times: With First Dibs on Vaccines, Rich Countries Have ‘Cleared the Shelves’
“…While many poor nations may be able to vaccinate at most 20 percent of their populations in 2021, some of the world’s richest countries have reserved enough doses to immunize their own multiple times over. … [I]f all the doses they have claimed are delivered, the European Union could inoculate its residents twice, Britain and the United States could do so four times over, and Canada six times over, according to a New York Times analysis of data on vaccine contracts collected by Duke University, UNICEF, and Airfinity, a science analytics company…” (Twohey et al., 12/15).

Quartz: Will there be enough syringes to deliver Covid-19 vaccines?
“…The global pandemic response has been stymied by one supply shortfall after another, from yeast and toilet paper to N95 masks and virus tests—and vaccine deployment will be no exception. Meeting demand will likely be challenged by shortages of shot-giving equipment like glass vials and supplies to maintain cold storage chains, not to mention the raw vaccine materials themselves. But governments and manufacturers appear to be ahead of the curve on one key piece of vaccination equipment: syringes…” (McDonnell, 12/15).

Reuters: Canada pledges C$485 million in COVID-19 aid for other nations
“Canada will spend C$485 million ($380 million) to support COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines in low- and middle-income countries, including antibody treatments, International Aid Minister Karina Gould said in a statement on Monday…” (12/14).

Reuters: E.U. weighs donating 5% of its COVID-19 vaccines to poor nations — document
“The European Union could donate 5% of the COVID-19 vaccines it has secured to poorer nations, an internal document seen by Reuters shows, in a move that risks undercutting a distribution scheme co-led by the World Health Organization. The plan, drafted by the French government, sets for the first time a clear target for E.U. vaccine donations which so far had only been considered as an option if the bloc ended up with surplus doses…” (Guarascio, 12/14).

Reuters: WHO sees “strong commitment” from Pfizer on affordable COVID vaccine
“A World Health Organization senior official said on Tuesday that the agency was in talks with Pfizer to include its COVID-19 vaccine as part of an early global roll out…” (Nebehay/Farge, 12/15).

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U.S., Canada Begin COVID-19 Vaccinations; Media Outlets Report On Other Vaccine-Related News From Australia, Brazil

The Guardian: Australia’s initial vaccine rollout unlikely to stop Covid transmission, study finds (Davey, 12/14).

The Hill: U.S. begins COVID-19 vaccinations in moment of hope (Hellmann, 12/14).

The Hill: Health official warns Brazil may not get mass vaccinations until March (Coleman, 12/14).

New York Times: ‘Playing With Lives’: Brazil’s Covid Vaccine Plan Is Mired in Chaos (Londoño et al., 12/14).

NPR: Canada Administers Its 1st COVID-19 Vaccine Shots (Jacobs, 12/14).

POLITICO: Covid vaccinations begin in the United States as deaths surpass 300,000 (Niedzwiadek, 12/14).

STAT: CDC says people with history of severe allergic reactions can get Covid-19 vaccine (Ross, 12/13).

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2.7B People Go Without State-Supported Social Protections During Pandemic, Oxfam Report Says

Al Jazeera: 2.7 billion people did not get state aid during pandemic: Oxfam
“The COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown measures to contain it have hit millions of people hard, with poverty set to increase sharply in almost every country for the first time in decades unless action is taken now, according to a new report by Oxfam. Hundreds of millions of people have lost their jobs and income, and 2.7 billion people have not received any public financial support to deal with the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, Oxfam said in the report published on Tuesday…” (12/15).

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Nature, STAT Examine COVID-19's Impact On Science, What Researchers Know About New Virus

Nature: COVID and 2020: An extraordinary year for science
“One event dominated in 2020: a deadly and previously unknown virus wreaked havoc across the globe, killing more than 1.5 million people, infecting many more, and causing economic devastation. And although there were other newsworthy research developments in 2020, the pandemic set the course of science to an extraordinary degree. The speed of the coronavirus’s spread has been matched only by the pace of scientific insights…” (Callaway et al., 12/15).

STAT: The coronavirus at 1: A year into the pandemic, what scientists know about how it spreads, infects, and sickens
“…A year into the pandemic, STAT is outlining a portrait of SARS-CoV-2 based on what scientists learned as the virus raced around the world, crippling some economies, societies, and health systems in its wake. … There are still lots of questions about SARS-2, as scientists call the virus for short, from basic biological queries to multifaceted mysteries, like why certain people get so sick. But for a virus that’s sometimes portrayed as bestowed with superpowers, experts point out that SARS-2 is in many ways, well, pretty normal…” (Joseph, 12/14).

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WHO Investigating New Coronavirus Variant Detected In U.K.

Financial Times: U.K. warns of threat from new Covid-19 variant
“A new variant of coronavirus has been identified in the U.K. that could be contributing to a rapid rise in infections in some parts of the country. Researchers were urgently investigating whether the new strain was more transmissible than previous coronavirus variants, U.K. health secretary Matt Hancock told the House of Commons on Monday, even as he sought to reassure members of parliament over the risks posed by the mutation…” (Cookson et al., 12/14).

Reuters: WHO says authorities investigating new COVID-19 variant in England
“The World Health Organization is aware of a new variant of COVID-19 that has emerged in Britain, but there is no evidence the strain behaves differently to existing types of the virus, it said on Monday…” (Nebehay/Revill, 12/14).

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Group Of Governments, Organizations Kick Off Nutrition Year Of Action; 168K Children Expected To Die Of Hunger Amid Pandemic, Study Predicts

AP: Hunger study predicts 168,000 pandemic-linked child deaths
“Economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has set back decades of progress against the most severe forms of malnutrition and is likely to kill 168,000 children before any global recovery takes hold, according to a study released Monday by 30 international organizations. The study from the Standing Together for Nutrition Consortium draws on economic and nutrition data gathered this year as well as targeted phone surveys…” (Hinnant, 12/14).

Devex: ‘Today is the starting line’: Nutrition for Growth kicks off year of action
“A group of partner governments and nutrition organizations on Monday kicked off the 2021 ‘Nutrition Year of Action’ to galvanize nutrition commitments in the lead-up to the 2021 Nutrition for Growth Summit, with a particular focus on meeting the needs of women and girls. Nutrition for Growth, originally scheduled to be held this month, was postponed until next December because of the COVID-19 pandemic…” (Welsh, 12/15).

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UNFPA Appeals For $2.5B To Improve Reproductive Health, Prevent Maternal Deaths Globally

U.N. News: Avert ‘dire consequences’ for women’s health, UNFPA urges in appeal to prevent maternal deaths
“The U.N. agency dedicated to improving reproductive and maternal health worldwide (UNFPA) appealed on Monday for $2.5 billion by 2030 to help avert potential ‘dire consequences’ surrounding pregnancies and maternal deaths. As the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA) announced the next phase of its Supplies Partnership to secure essential contraception and maternal health medicines for millions of women and adolescent girls over the next decade…” (12/14).

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$3.6B Needed To Provide Water Access To Health Facilities In Least Developed Countries, WHO, UNICEF Report Says

Devex: Wanted: A ‘modest’ $3.6B to give hospitals access to water
“A total of $3.6 billion is needed between 2020 and 2030 to establish basic water services in health care facilities in the 47 least developed countries, according to a report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF — marking the first time a price tag has been put on the issue, according to Bruce Gordon, unit head of WASH at WHO. Although the figure is a preliminary estimate, more detailed figures are expected to be released next year…” (Root, 12/15).

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Sanofi, WHO Renew Partnership To Finance Research, Other Efforts To Address NTDs

Reuters: Sanofi renews deal with WHO to fight tropical diseases, sleeping sickness
“French healthcare company Sanofi announced on Tuesday a renewal of its partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO) to fight neglected tropical diseases and to eliminate sleeping sickness before 2030. Sanofi said its new five-year commitment with the WHO would see Sanofi provide financial support of $5 million per year over those five years, to finance research and work dedicated to tackling those ailments” (Kar-Gupta, 12/15).

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Media Outlets Examine Planetary Health, High-Level Efforts To Reflect Links Between Climate, Health, Human Progress In Global Development Discussions

Devex: UNDP to broaden human development assessment with planetary indicators
“A new method of measuring human progress is underway, taking into account countries’ carbon dioxide emissions and material footprints. Developed by the United Nations Development Programme, the recalibration of the Human Development Index to include planetary pressures will provide a more accurate picture of countries’ development, according to Ahunna Eziakonwa, assistant administrator and regional director for Africa at UNDP…” (Lieberman, 12/15).

Devex: Why loss and damage is the ‘most politically contentious issue’ in climate negotiations
“For climate vulnerable countries, loss and damage will be a key measure of success at COP26. But higher-income governments are reluctant to engage…” (Worley, 12/15).

DW: How curing the planet’s ills protects human health
“In a year that has seen wildfires rage in many parts of the world, mega-storms hit others, and a novel virus spill over from animals to humans affecting people across the planet, scientists are drawing an ever-clearer link between the importance of a healthy environment and humans. A new book, ‘Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves’, looks at the environmental problems the planet is facing and tries to envision ways out. Samuel Myers, a medical doctor and research scientist in planetary health at Harvard University, co-edited the book. Also the director of the Planetary Health Alliance, an international network of organizations seeking to address global environmental change and its health impacts, Myers spoke to DW about how human activity is destabilizing the environment. And harming our health in the process…” (Collins, 12/15).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

Devex: Q&A: Reimagining development for the next era (Root, 12/15).

The Guardian: Global first responders: 5 things to know about Doctors Without Borders’ Covid-19 strategy (12/14).

The Guardian: ‘We could have lost her’: Zimbabwe’s children go hungry as crisis deepens (Chingono, 12/15).

Homeland Preparedness News: CEPI to provide up to $10 million for clinical studies of SK bioscience COVID-19 vaccine (Galford, 12/11).

NPR: Is Mass Vaccination The Best Strategy For All Countries? A Doctor’s Surprising View (Doucleff, 12/14).

NPR: Even Disaster Veterans Are Stunned By What’s Happening In Honduras (Beaubien, 12/14).

Science: North Korea is about to exhaust its tuberculosis drug supply, experts warn (Stone, 12/14).

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Factbox — What are the blood donation rules globally for gay and bisexual men? (Savage, 12/14).

Xinhua: Feature: Hunger, polluted water threaten millions in Yemen (12/15).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Topics Related To COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Sustaining Global TB Efforts; Intellectual Property Rights; Vaccine Access, Distribution; Impact On Girls

Global Health NOW: A 2-Front Battle: COVID-19 Must Reinvigorate the Fight Against TB
Ersin Topcuoglu, director of the USAID-funded Health Systems for Tuberculosis Project at Management Sciences for Health (12/11).

IPS: Intellectual Property Monopolies Block Vaccine Access
Anis Chowdhury, adjunct professor at Western Sydney University & University of New South Wales in Australia, and Jomo Kwame Sundaram, former economics professor and former U.N. assistant-secretary general for Economic Development (12/15).

New Humanitarian: How to confront COVID-19’s cost to girls
Asif Saleh, executive director of BRAC Bangladesh (12/14).

STAT: Don’t repeat the mistakes of past vaccine distribution efforts
Bruce Y. Lee, internal medicine and public health physician, professor of health policy and management at the City University of New York Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy, and executive director of the Public Health Informatics, Computational, Operations Research team (12/15).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Strategies, Efforts To Re-establish, Strengthen USAID, U.S. Foreign Assistance

Devex: Opinion: Revitalizing USAID is essential to reestablishing U.S. global leadership
Susan Reichle, president and chief executive officer at the International Youth Foundation, and Patrick Fine, chief executive officer of FHI 360 (12/15).

The Hill: Executive order to rebrand U.S. assistance: Right question, likely wrong answer
Daniel F. Runde, senior vice president and William A. Schreyer chair in global analysis at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (12/14).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Canada Allocates CAD 65M To Global Fund's COVID-19 Response Efforts In LMICs

The Global Fund: Canada Contributes CAD 65 million to Global Fund’s COVID-19 Response
“The Global Fund applauds the government of Canada for allocating CAD 65 million to the Global Fund’s efforts to support low- and middle-income countries to fight COVID-19, including procuring and deploying millions of COVID-19 rapid diagnostics tests as well as reinforcing health systems. The allocation is part of the CAD 120 million commitment made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in June 2020 to the ACT-Accelerator — a groundbreaking global coalition to accelerate the development, production, and equitable access to new COVID-19 tests, treatments, and vaccines…” (12/14).

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UNAIDS Highlights Collaborative COVID-19, HIV Efforts; Calls For Rights-Based, People-Centered UHC

UNAIDS: Coming together to address the cost of inequality
“…Although the colliding pandemics of HIV and COVID-19 are hitting the poorest and the most vulnerable the hardest, through national resource mobilization the COVID-19 crisis has created an opportunity for partners to mobilize in support of the communities they serve. The collaborative efforts between the government, development partners, including the United States President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief, USAID, and UNAIDS, the National Council of People Living with HIV (NACOPHA), and community activists have been key in responding to COVID-19, providing information, services, social protection, and hope to people living with HIV during these unprecedented and trying times…” (12/15).

UNAIDS: UNAIDS calls for rights-based and people-centered universal health coverage
“The world is only 10 years away from the deadline for the universal health coverage target of the Sustainable Development Goals. … But that target seems as far away as ever. In 2017, less than half of the world’s people were covered by essential health services, and if current trends continue it is estimated that only 60% of the global population will enjoy universal health coverage by 2030. On Universal Health Coverage Day, UNAIDS is calling for the world to meet its obligation — universal health coverage, based on human rights and with people at the center…” (12/12).

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Use Of Data, Advanced Analytics Can Help Mitigate Impacts Of Future Health Emergencies, Report Says

World Economic Forum: Data can prevent the next global health emergency. Here’s how
Hemant Ahlawat, senior partner at McKinsey & Company, and colleagues discuss the role of data and advanced analytics to help mitigate the impacts of future health emergencies, highlighting a recently published report by the Trinity Challenge on “how COVID-19 has highlighted the pre-existing weaknesses in our data sharing, analytics, and learning systems” (12/15).

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New Global Youth Mobilization Initiative To Invest In Youth-Led COVID-19 Response Efforts

WHO: World’s largest youth organizations, representing 250 million members, and WHO launch global mobilization to respond to disruptive impacts of COVID-19 on young people
“A new ground-breaking global youth mobilization was launched [Monday] to invest in and scale up youth-led solutions and engagements in response to COVID-19. The initiative was launched by an alliance of the world’s largest youth movements and organizations, together with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Foundation. … The Global Youth Mobilization will feature the convening of a Global Youth Summit in April 2021, and a fund of US$5 million to support local and national youth organizations, including grants for youth-led solutions and an accelerator program to scale up existing response efforts…” (12/14).

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Diabetes Rising Across Globe, Claims 3 Times As Many Lives As COVID-19, IDF Data Show

World Economic Forum: The silent epidemic that is three times as deadly as COVID
Douglas Broom, senior writer for Formative Content, discusses the global burden of diabetes, highlighting findings from the International Diabetes Federation. Broom notes, “It’s the silent epidemic that claims 4.2 million lives around the world every year — almost three times as many deaths as COVID-19. … An estimated 463 million people already live with diabetes and that figure is set to rise to over 700 million by 2045, according to the latest data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF)…” (12/14).

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U.N. General Assembly Declares 2021-2030 Decade Of Healthy Aging

WHO: The Decade of Healthy Ageing: a new U.N.-wide initiative
“The United Nations General Assembly [Monday] declared 2021-2030 the Decade of Healthy Ageing. ‘Today’s announcement of the U.N. Decade of Healthy Aging sends a clear signal that it is only by working as one, within the United Nations system and with governments, civil society, and the private sector, that we will be able to not only add years to life, but also life to years,’ said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization. … The U.N. Resolution, which follows recent endorsement of the Decade by the World Health Assembly, expresses concern that, despite the predictability of population aging and its accelerating pace, the world is not sufficiently prepared to respond to the rights and needs of older people. It acknowledges that the aging of the population impacts our health systems but also many other aspects of society, including labor and financial markets and the demand for goods and services, such as education, housing, long-term care, social protection, and information. It thus requires a whole-of-society approach…” (12/14).

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From the U.S. Government

CRS Report Provides Overview Of U.S., Multilateral Efforts To Develop COVID-19 Vaccines, Other Related Issues

Congressional Research Service: COVID-19 Vaccines: Global Health Issues
In this CRS report, Sara M. Tharakan, analyst in global health and international development at CRS, and colleagues discuss U.S. efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccines, writing, “This report provides an overview of U.S. government and multilateral efforts to develop COVID-19 vaccines. It also describes how other related issues, such as domestic and medical product regulation, as well as humanitarian, foreign assistance, diplomatic, and international trade considerations, might affect the availability of an eventual COVID-19 vaccine” (12/8).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of December 15, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (12/15).

A KFF-curated recap of pandemic-related news from last week is available here. 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.

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