KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

U.N. SG Guterres Warns Against 'Vaccinationalism,' Spread Of Misinformation On COVID-19 In Address, Remarks In Germany

AP: U.N. head stresses need of virus vaccine for all nations
“The secretary general of the United Nations on Friday stressed that as wealthy nations roll out the coronavirus vaccine for their citizens, the world also needs to ensure it is available for ‘everyone, everywhere.’ In an address to Germany’s parliament, António Guterres praised the researchers from Germany’s BioNTech who teamed up with U.S. giant Pfizer and beat rivals in the race to put the first thoroughly vetted vaccine on the market…” (12/18).

The Hill: U.N. secretary general warns against ‘vaccinationalism’ on COVID-19 vaccine
“U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres warned against ‘vaccinationalism’ on Thursday as countries race to inoculate their populations against COVID-19. Guterres made the remark at a joint press conference with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, as he was discussing the World Health Organization’s COVAX program, which aims to deliver coronavirus vaccines to developing countries…” (Williams, 12/17).

ABC’s “RN Drive” features an interview with UNAIDS Executive Director Winnie Byanyima, who warns “vaccine nationalism” is preventing poorer nations from receiving vaccines.

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80% Of Africans Would Take Coronavirus Vaccine, Survey Shows, As Case Counts Rise Across West, Central Regions

Devex: 4 out of 5 Africans would take a COVID-19 vaccine: Africa CDC survey
“About 80% of Africans surveyed said they were willing to take a COVID-19 vaccine once it’s publicly available and deemed safe and effective. Of those that said they would not take a vaccine, safety was the leading concern. The survey conducted by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s Vaccine Confidence Project, and Orb International, examined perceptions around COVID-19 vaccines in 15 countries…” (Jerving, 12/17).

Reuters: Second COVID-19 wave hits West & Central Africa as weather cools
“A second wave of coronavirus infections is hitting West and Central Africa, and experts are warning it could be worse than the first as cooler weather descends on a region where most countries cannot afford a vaccine. Nigeria, Niger, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Mali, Togo, and Democratic Republic of Congo are all at or near record levels of infection, data compiled by Reuters shows. Infections in Senegal are also rising fast…” (Lorgerie et al., 12/17).

U.N. News: U.N. releases emergency funding for civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray, as Africa’s battle against COVID-19 intensifies
“The UN has released $36.6 million for civilians caught up in the conflict that has roiled Ethiopia’s Tigray region since early last month, in order to secure water, sanitation, and lifesaving medical supplies. … [I]n the battle against the spread of COVID-19 across the continent overall, cases have risen steadily over the past two months, underscoring the need for reinforced public health measures to avert a surge in infections, particularly as people gather or travel for end-of-year celebrations, according to the World Health Organization (WHO)…” (12/17).

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U.S. Set To Approve 2nd COVID-19 Vaccine As FDA Considers Moderna Candidate; Questions Remain Over Production Meeting Demand

Financial Times: Moderna Covid vaccine set to receive U.S. approval
“The U.S. drugs regulator will grant emergency approval to a second coronavirus vaccine in the coming days, a decision that will make it the first country to have authorized two inoculations against the virus…” (Stacey/Kuchler, 12/17).

NBC News: FDA advisers recommend Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine, bringing second vaccine closer to reality
“…Members of the Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee voted 20 to 0 in favor of recommending authorization, with one abstention. The FDA is expected to agree with the committee’s recommendation, and an emergency use authorization could come as soon as Thursday evening or Friday…” (Edwards, 12/17).

NPR: How Will Moderna Meet The Demand For Its COVID-19 Vaccine?
“…[C]ompared with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, which was granted emergency use authorization last week, upstart Moderna doesn’t have a track record when it comes to mass production…” (Lupkin, 12/17).

POLITICO: Upstart Moderna takes on outsized role in U.S. vaccine effort
“…[W]hile the maker of the first authorized shot, Pfizer, is a global pharmaceutical giant that has pumped out dozens of blockbusters including Viagra and even ChapStick, Moderna had never had a vaccine reach late-stage trials before it became the first of dozens of coronavirus vaccine hopefuls to hit that milestone this summer. Now the 10-year-old Massachusetts biotech is the cornerstone of the United States’ strategy to defeat a virus that has killed more than 308,000 Americans so far…” (Owermohle, 12/17).

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New Zealand Offers Free Coronavirus Vaccines To Residents, Neighboring Pacific Island Nations

NPR: New Zealand Will Give Free Coronavirus Vaccines To Residents, Neighboring Nations
“New Zealand has advance purchased two new coronavirus vaccines from pharmaceutical companies AstraZeneca and Novavax, giving the small island country the ability to vaccinate its 5 million residents. Government officials also announced Thursday they will go a step further and provide free doses to its population as well as neighboring nations Tokelau, Cook Islands, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, and Tuvalu, should they want them. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said during a news conference that the effort would be the country’s largest immunization rollout ever…” (Diaz, 12/17).

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Experts Weigh In On Trump's Executive Order to Rebrand Foreign Aid

Devex: Experts caution Trump against hasty foreign aid rebrand
“President Donald Trump’s plan to rebrand U.S. foreign aid with a single logo that ’embodies the values and generosity of the American people’ could put at risk six decades of global brand equity built up by the U.S. Agency for International Development, experts warn. On Dec. 10, Trump issued an executive order on ‘rebranding United States foreign assistance to advance American influence.’ It states that within 30 days the president will select a new logo that will replace the wide array of agency-specific logos currently attached to various U.S. aid shipments and communications. While some experts agree that the proliferation of different logos is a problem worth solving, they cautioned that a hastily implemented effort in the waning days of the administration would likely do more harm than good…” (Igoe, 12/18).

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Asian Countries Top Bloomberg's List Of Efficient Health Systems; U.S. In Bottom Tier

Bloomberg: Asia Trounces U.S. in Health-Efficiency Index Amid Pandemic
“As a pandemic ravaged the world, Asian economies led by Hong Kong and Singapore topped a ranking of most-efficient health care systems. The Bloomberg Health-Efficiency Index, first conducted in 2013, tracks life expectancy and medical spending to determine which health-care systems have the best outcomes. This year’s results include the impact of Covid-19 on mortality and gross domestic product in 57 of the world’s largest economies. These measures helped many Asian territories improve their standing on the list since their generally aggressive coronavirus responses kept cases and deaths relatively low. Brazil and Russia joined the U.S. in the bottom tier, reflecting relatively low life expectancies along with high Covid-19 mortality and weaker economic outlooks…” (Miller/Lu, 12/17).

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France To Start Development Innovation Fund To Address Poverty, Inequality

Devex: Exclusive: France to launch development innovation fund chaired by Esther Duflo
“France will start a Fund for Innovation in Development next year to test and scale up solutions to poverty and inequality, a move its founders hope will ‘transform’ the country’s approach to aid. The Fonds d’Innovation pour le Développement, or FID, chaired by MIT economist and Nobel laureate Esther Duflo, will be an independent body hosted by the French Development Agency in Paris. For its first year, the French ministries of finance and foreign affairs will contribute a combined €15 million ($18.3 million), though French Member of Parliament Hervé Berville told Devex that the annual amount will likely increase…” (Chadwick, 12/17).

An interview with the fund’s chair, Esther Duflo, also is available from Devex.

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African-Led Trial To Test New Combinations Of HIV Vaccines, PrEP In 4 Countries

The Guardian: Africa steps up fight against HIV with trial of new combination vaccines
“The first trial in Africa to test two new vaccines to protect against HIV got under way in Uganda this week, raising hopes of an end to the epidemic that affects millions of people across the continent. The African-led PrEPVacc study will test two experimental combination vaccines to see if they can provide any protection against HIV in people most at risk of infection. At the same time, a new form of daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) will be offered to participants, which scientists say will give the vaccines the best possible chance of working…” (Okiror, 12/18).

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4 Countries Close To Famine, Says U.N.

The Telegraph: Revealed: The four countries facing famine in 2020
“Millions in South Sudan are on the edge of starvation, the United Nations has warned, with ‘multiple famines looming’ in a number of other countries as well. Across the globe millions have been left starving as the devastating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing food insecurity linked to conflict and climate change. Alongside South Sudan, parts of Yemen, northeast Nigeria and Burkina Faso are also close to famine, the U.N. said, with hundreds of thousands of people only able to survive thanks to food aid…” (Rigby, 12/17).

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Global Health NOW, Other Outlets Examine Top Global Health, COVID-19 Stories Of 2020

Global Health NOW: Top Global Health Moments of 2020
“If we wanted to, we could list a COVID-19 moment for every month of 2020. … But a lot of other things happened in global health in 2020 — and many of us may not have heard about them. Here are some of the moments we didn’t and won’t forget…” (Seaton, 12/17).

The Lancet: 2020: a year in review
“While one health issue has dominated the news in 2020, Farhat Yaqub looks back at some of the year’s most important non-COVID-19 stories in health and medicine…” (Yaqub, 12/19).

Science: 2020 Breakthrough of the Year: Shots of Hope
“Desperately needed vaccines against COVID-19, developed and tested at record speed, are 2020’s breakthrough…” (Cohen, 12/17).

Science: Our favorite science news stories of 2020 (non-COVID-19 edition)
“COVID-19 dominated the headlines this year, and our Breakthrough of the Year as well. But there was a lot of other important science news, and some fun stories to boot. For those of you looking for a pandemic break, here are some of our most popular non-COVID-19 stories of the year, along with some personal favorites — almost all of them stories we reported first…” (Grimm, 12/18).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

Borgen Magazine: Four Companies in Developing Countries Contributing to the SDGs (Cade, 12/17).

Devex: Q&A: The need for more early stage investment in RMNCAH solutions (12/18).

Devex: Q&A: The value of the private sector in health system strengthening (12/18).

Devex: If COVID-19 changes finance, will that help development funding? (Saldinger, 12/18).

Financial Times: WHO team set to visit Wuhan in January to probe Covid origins (Shepherd, 12/17).

The Guardian: How does a pregnant woman get to hospital when there’s no road? By stretcher… (Dhillon, 12/17).

The Guardian: ‘Humanitarian crisis’: U.N. panel decries Covid rules that trapped crews at sea (McVeigh, 12/18).

The Hill: Mexico City mayor resists call for lockdown as hospitals hit 75 percent occupancy (Coleman, 12/17).

Reuters: Palestinians scramble for COVID-19 vaccines as Israel prepares rollout (Sawafta, 12/18).

U.N. News: Funding needed to halt ‘life threatening crisis’ facing refugees in Kenya (12/17).

U.N. News: UNICEF supporting emergency food aid for U.K. children over holidays (12/17).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Address Various Topics Related To COVID-19, Including R&D; Global Immunization Efforts, Access; Scientific Advancement; Lessons Learned

The Conversation: The top scientific breakthrough for 2020 was understanding SARS-CoV-2 and how it causes COVID-19 — and then developing multiple vaccines
David Pride, associate director of microbiology at the University of California San Diego (12/17).

The Guardian: Covid is a chance to build a world where everyone has access to basic vaccines
David Miliband, CEO of the International Rescue Committee, and Anuradha Gupta, deputy CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (12/18).

The Lancet: Science during COVID-19: where do we go from here?
Editorial Board (12/19).

Nature: The WHO’s chief scientist on a year of loss and learning
Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at the World Health Organization (12/17).

STAT: Emergency use authorization of Covid-19 vaccines could hinder global access to them
Safura Abdool Karim, public health lawyer, researcher at the SAMRC Centre for Health Economics and Decision Science at the Wits School of Public Health in Johannesburg and 2020 Aspen New Voices fellow (12/18).

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Biden-Harris Administration, Congress Must Repeal Helms Amendment, Expand Access To Comprehensive Reproductive Health Care, Opinion Pieces Argue

The Hill: Global Gag Rule is just the tip of the iceberg: Why Repealing the Helms Amendment matters
Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), and Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) (12/17).

Ms. Magazine: The Helms Amendment: 47 Years of Denying U.S. Support for International Reproductive Health and Rights
Anu Kumar, president and CEO of Ipas, and Bethany Van Kampen, senior policy adviser for Ipas (12/17).

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Incoming Biden-Harris Administration Should Prioritize Food Security In U.S., Experts Write In Opinion Piece

IPS: Aren’t We Missing Food Security Experts in the Incoming President-Elect Biden-Kamala Harris Administration?
Esther Ngumbi, assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and senior food security New Voices fellow with the Aspen Institute, and Ifeanyi McWilliams Nsofor, senior New Voices fellow with the Aspen Institute, senior Atlantic fellow for health equity at George Washington University, and director of policy and advocacy at Nigeria Health Watch

“Food insecurity across the U.S. continues to be on the rise because of the effects of COVID-19. … As thought leaders in global health and food security, we are compelled to amplify this inequity in the world’s richest country. The last few months, clearly, have changed our perception of food insecurity and the narrative around it is changing. … Much more needs to be done. Here’s where to start. First, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris should include a food security expert in the COVID-19 Advisory Council. … COVID-19 is very well linked with food insecurity and failing to have a food security expert working alongside the other advisory council members would undermine the ability of the country to effectively tackle these tightly linked issues. … Second, develop a multi-stakeholder comprehensive food security plan as part of epidemic preparedness plans for the next pandemic. … Third, food banks should improve their process to enable long-term storage of nutritious foods such as green vegetables, fruits, proteins, milk etc. … Fourth, prioritize the needs of under-five children and women of child-bearing age. … Lastly, encourage families to form groups and run all seasons sustainable community gardens…” (12/17).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Stakeholders Must Commit To Equity In Ending COVID-19 Pandemic, ONE Blog Post Says

ONE Campaign: 4 things leaders must do to end the pandemic
This blog post outlines four steps governments, companies, and philanthropists involved in the development of a medication or vaccine for COVID-19 must take in order to achieve an equitable path toward ending the pandemic (12/17).

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Experts Answer 9 Questions About COVID-19 Vaccine In CGD Blog Post

Center for Global Development: Questions on the COVID-19 Vaccine? We’ve Got Answers
Anthony McDonnell, senior policy analyst at CGD, and Robert Van Exan, president at Immunization Policy and Knowledge Translation, answer nine questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine pipeline, including questions on vaccine supply and prioritization, clinical trials, and efficacy (12/17).

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Gates Foundation Blog Posts Look Back At COVID-19 In India, Africa

Gates Foundation: Looking back at COVID-19 in 2020: A Q&A with Hari Menon
“M. Hari Menon, head of the foundation’s India office, wrote on India’s initial COVID-19 response in May 2020. We caught up with him to discuss his thoughts on the pandemic at the end of the year and what’s to come in 2021…” (12/17).

Gates Foundation: Looking back at COVID-19 in 2020: A Q&A with Oumar Seydi
“Cheikh Oumar Seydi, who leads the foundation’s work in Africa, wrote on Africa’s initial COVID-19 response in April 2020. We caught up with him to discuss his thoughts on the pandemic at the end of the year and what’s to come in 2021…” (12/17).

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CGD Blog Post Examines DFC's Efforts, Portfolio In Agency's Inaugural Year

Center for Global Development: DFC’s December Board Meeting: A Fitting Bookend for the Agency’s First Year
Clemence Landers, policy fellow, and Jocilyn Estes, program coordinator and policy outreach assistant, both at CGD, discuss the Development Finance Corporation’s (DFC) efforts and portfolio in 2020, writing, “DFC’s inaugural year leaves us with the impression that the agency still has room to grow into the development finance institution envisioned by the BUILD Act. There are many early successes it can build off of in the coming years … to solidify its development focus. … It will be up to the Biden administration’s DFC CEO to bring these pieces together into a transformative whole…” (12/17).

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Blog Post Explores Opportunities For International Development Donor Collaboration In Southeast Asia

Brookings Institution’s “Up Front”: How international development donors can collaborate in Southeast Asia
George Ingram, senior fellow for global economy and development at the Center for Sustainable Development at Brookings, discusses the advantages and opportunities for, and forms of, international development donor collaboration in Southeast Asia (12/17).

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From the U.S. Government

New Issue Of NIH Fogarty International Center's 'Global Health Matters' Newsletter Available Online

NIH Fogarty International Center: Fogarty International Center’s Global Health Matters
The most recent issue of the Fogarty International Center’s newsletter contains various articles addressing global health topics, including one about women advocating for leadership roles in global health during the 2020 Women Leaders in Global Health Conference, and another on NIH studies examining global-to-local solutions for HIV/AIDS stigma (November/December 2020).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of December 18, 2020
This tracker is updated daily with data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 (12/18).

KFF will continue to provide COVID-19 resources on the global situation, as well as those focused on the response and impact within the U.S., here.

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