KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

Gavi Raises $8.8B For Global Immunization Programs, Launches Advance Market Commitment Program For Coronavirus Vaccines; AstraZeneca Partners With Gavi, CEPI To Make, Distribute Any Successful Vaccine

Al Jazeera: Vaccines alliance raises $8.8bn for global immunization plans
“Governments, companies, and individuals around the world have pledged $8.8bn for a global vaccines alliance to help immunization programs stalled by the coronavirus pandemic and support the development and distribution of a potential COVID-19 vaccine. The virtual meeting on Thursday beat a funding target of $7.4bn for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to provide vaccines at a reduced cost to 300 million children worldwide over the next five years, the international group said…” (6/4).

Devex: Gavi launches tool to ‘ensure equitable access’ to coronavirus vaccine
“A new funding mechanism to help ensure a future coronavirus vaccine is accessible to lower-income countries was announced by Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance, at the organization’s replenishment summit on Thursday. The Advance Market Commitment for COVID-19 Vaccines, or Covax AMC, will be the first ‘building block towards a global mechanism to ensure equitable access to future COVID-19 vaccines,’ according to a statement by Gavi. … Covax AMC has so far raised $567 million from 12 donors out of a $2 billion target. … Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has already signed up to the Covax AMC to guarantee 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine it is developing with the University of Oxford. Discussions with other vaccine manufacturers are ongoing, according to [Gavi CEO Seth] Berkley…” (Worley, 6/5).

STAT: AstraZeneca lays out plan for producing 2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine, if it works
“The drug giant AstraZeneca said Thursday that it has found partners to manufacture and distribute 2 billion doses of the experimental Covid-19 vaccine created by Oxford University, inking a series of deals with non-government organizations and another manufacturer. AstraZeneca said that CEPI and Gavi, public-private partnerships aimed at developing and distributing vaccines, would spend $750 million to manufacture and make available 300 million doses of the vaccine to distribute by the end of the year — assuming the vaccine is shown to be safe and effective. It also reached a licensing agreement with SII, previously known as the Serum Institute of India, to supply 1 billion doses of the vaccine to low- and middle-income countries. SII committed to provide 400 million doses before the end of 2020. AstraZeneca had previously said that it plans to ship 100 million doses to the United Kingdom and 300 million to the U.S…” (Herper, 6/4).

Washington Post: The biggest challenge for a coronavirus vaccine could be getting countries to share
“…The twists and turns of the scientific race to develop and mass produce a vaccine are being closely followed, with mere hints of progress sending the stock market surging. But an even more important challenge looms, because any vaccine will have to be distributed globally to stamp out the pandemic as quickly as possible and avoid a humanitarian disaster in which rich countries restart their economies while people in poorer countries continue to die…” (Wan/Johnson, 6/4).

Additional coverage of the Global Vaccine Summit, AstraZeneca’s deals to produce a successful COVID-19 vaccine, and other vaccine-related news is available from ABC News, ABC (Australia), BBC, CNBC, Devex, Fortune, The Guardian (2), The Lancet, NBC, Reuters (2), Thomson Reuters Foundation, U.N. News, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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Bill Gates, Melinda Gates Discuss Trump's Decision To Withdrawal From WHO, COVID-19; Some Experts Express Concern Over Gates Foundation Being Largest WHO Donor If U.S. Terminates Relationship

Devex: ‘Big concerns’ over Gates foundation’s potential to become largest WHO donor
“If the United States government withdraws from the World Health Organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is poised to become the agency’s top donor. The potential of this change is raising questions about what such influence from a single private foundation could mean…” (Cheney, 6/5).

STAT: Bill Gates expresses disappointment with Trump’s WHO decision — and hopes it can be walked back
“Philanthropist Bill Gates expressed disappointment with President Trump’s announcement that the United States would withdraw from the World Health Organization, saying that the agency was critical to the global effort to eliminate polio — and to respond to future epidemics…” (Branswell, 6/4).

TIME: Melinda Gates Lays Out Her Biggest Concern For the Next Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic
“…Ahead of the June 4 [GAVI] pledge event, TIME spoke with Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates about equitable solutions to COVID-19, the need for optimism in times of anxiety, and what will happen to the WHO…” (Ducharme, 6/4).

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News Outlets Examine U.S. Government Efforts On Coronavirus, Officials' Ongoing Work With WHO, Vaccine Research, COVID-19 Efforts In Africa

Bloomberg Law: U.S. Agencies Work With WHO Despite Trump Threat to Cut Ties
“Top U.S. health officials said they are still working closely with the World Health Organization even after President Donald Trump said last week he planned to terminate the U.S. relationship with the group for being too deferential to China…” (Edney, 6/4).

CNN: NIH chief worried vaccine “skepticism” might cause some to skip coronavirus vaccine
“The director of the National Institutes of Health said Thursday he’s concerned that vaccine ‘skepticism’ could hinder the effort to immunize the country against Covid-19. ‘I’m a bit concerned to see there’s a fair amount of skepticism in the American public about whether or not they would take such a vaccine,’ Dr. Francis Collins told CNN in an interview…” (Cohen, 6/4).

CNN: CDC woes bring Director Redfield’s troubled past as an AIDS researcher to light
“…In interviews with numerous public health experts, including eight current CDC officials, many said they are disillusioned by [CDC Director Robert] Redfield, telling CNN he’s failed to push back against White House efforts to sideline the CDC and politicize its science. While sources consistently described Redfield as a respected doctor, they also view him as a relatively ineffectual public health leader at a time of pandemic, and a pawn of the president’s political agenda…” (Holmes et al., 6/4).

Science: Top U.S. scientists left out of White House selection of COVID-19 vaccine shortlist
“When the news broke yesterday that Operation Warp Speed had selected five experimental COVID-19 vaccines to fast-track through testing and, potentially, mass-scale production, it was news even to some top scientists involved with the White House-led program. ‘It’s been so chaotic, and it’s not even transparent to those of us who are trying to help out,’ says a source linked to Warp Speed who asked not to be named…” (Cohen, 6/4).

VOA: U.S.-Africa Coronavirus Fight Is Multi-Front Battle
“The challenges faced by African nations during the coronavirus pandemic are about much more than a rapidly spreading virus, American aid officials say. They’re concerned about the threats it poses to proper nutrition, the economy, liberties and freedoms, and the ongoing war against a deadly parasite that has plagued this continent for centuries: malaria…” (Powell, 6/4).

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COVID-19 Spreads Into LMICs In Middle East, Latin America, Africa, South Asia; Experts Discuss How To Avoid Pandemic Response Pitfalls In Future

New York Times: Coronavirus Rips Into Regions Previously Spared
“For months, one enduring mystery of the coronavirus was why some of the world’s most populous countries, with rickety health systems and crowded slums, had managed to avoid the brunt of an outbreak that was burning through relatively affluent societies in Europe and the United States. Now some of those countries are tumbling into the maw of the pandemic, and they are grappling with the likelihood that their troubles are only beginning…” (Walsh, 6/4).

STAT: How the world can avoid screwing up the response to Covid-19 again
“…STAT … asked 11 experts in infectious disease, epidemiology, and pandemic preparedness how to avoid the mistakes, poor decisions, and incompetence of this spring. We asked them not to invoke magic; advice like ‘develop a vaccine’ is obvious but not very helpful. We also asked them to look forward more than backward; we don’t want to relitigate things like the monthslong shortages of Covid-19 diagnostic tests, President Trump’s cheerleading for unproven (and potentially harmful) treatments, or the demonstrably false assurances by the White House that anyone who wanted a diagnostic test could get one. The experts did take some peeks into the rear-view mirror, since understanding past mistakes can help us avoid repeating them. But for the most part they focused on how to do better next time…” (Begley/Branswell, 6/5).

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African Nations Plan To Ramp Up COVID-19 Testing; Disease Reaches India's Rural Areas; Storm Season Complicates Pandemic Response In Latin America, Mexico; Europe Considers Reopening Borders

AFRICA

AP: U.N. chief: COVID-19 compounds dire situation in Mali, Sahel (Lederer, 6/5).

Devex: Africa CDC rolls out strategy to ramp up coronavirus testing (Jerving, 6/5).

NPR: Who Do People Trust For Coronavirus Info? In Zambia, It’s Nuns On The Radio (Baskar, 6/4).

Reuters: WHO says its representative told to leave Equatorial Guinea (Prentice, 6/5).

Reuters: African countries secure 90 million coronavirus test kits for next six months (Paravicini, 6/4).

ASIA

Reuters: India’s urban COVID-19 outbreak is morphing into a rural health crisis (Ghoshal et al., 6/4).

Wall Street Journal: South Korea’s Coronavirus Formula: Heavy on Stimulus, Light on Lockdowns (Jeong, 6/4).

Xinhua: China stresses targeted COVID-19 containment measures, developing vaccines and drugs (6/4).

EUROPE

The Economist: Covid-19 threatens Europe’s success at fighting inequality (6/6).

France 24: A continent in fragments: Europe mulls re-opening borders after Covid-19 (Fillon, 6/5).

LATIN AMERICA

The Economist: How Colombia’s second-largest city is controlling the pandemic (6/4).

New Humanitarian: Known unknowns: The challenge of collecting COVID-19 data in Venezuela (Cincurova, 6/4).

Reuters: For Venezuelans, a key obstacle for handwashing during pandemic — no running water (Sequera et al., 6/4).

Wall Street Journal: Remittances, a Lifeline for El Salvador, Plummet Amid Pandemic (Pérez, 6/4).

MIDDLE EAST

PRI: Yemen faces spread of COVID-19 ‘with no health care system at all’ (Snyder, 6/4).

NORTH AMERICA

AP: Mexico leader urges calm after jump in reported COVID deaths (Sherman, 6/5).

AP: Storm season adds to pandemic worries for Mexico, C. America (Verza/Aleman, 6/5).

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Lancet, NEJM Retract COVID-19 Research Papers After Concerns Raised On Data Integrity

Science: Two elite medical journals retract coronavirus papers over data integrity questions
“In the first big research scandal of the COVID-19 era, The Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) [Thursday] retracted two high-profile papers after a company declined to make the underlying data for both available for an independent audit, following questions being raised about the research. The Lancet paper, which claimed an antimalarial drug touted by President Donald Trump for treatment of COVID-19 could cause serious harm without helping patients, had had a global impact, halting trials of one of the drugs by the World Health Organization (WHO) and others…” (Piller/Servick, 6/4).

Additional coverage of the studies’ retractions is available from Bloomberg, MedPage Today, New York Times, POLITICO, STAT, TIME, UPI, and VOA.

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More News In Global Health

CNN: New Zealand to provide free sanitary products in schools to fight period poverty (Regan, 6/4).

The Guardian: #NiUnaMenos five years on: Latin America as deadly as ever for women, say activists (Alcoba/McGowan, 6/4).

The Guardian: ‘I know they aren’t healthy’: the energy drink craze sweeping Afghanistan (Glinski, 6/5).

New York Times: Doctors Heavily Overprescribed Antibiotics Early in the Pandemic (Jacobs, 6/4).

U.N. News: Protect the environment, prevent pandemics, ‘nature is sending us a clear message’ (6/5).

U.N. News: India must follow Supreme Court orders to protect 100 million migrant workers: U.N. rights experts (6/4).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Exposure Of Food System Vulnerabilities, Addressing Needs Of Indigenous Populations, Vaccine Research

The Hill: The world will starve if we keep ignoring disease outbreaks
Elwyn Grainger-Jones, executive director of the CGIAR System Organization (6/4).

IPS: Beyond the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Now?
Lawrence Surendra, chemical engineer, environmental economist, and scholar in residence at the Dag Hammarskjold Foundation (6/4).

The Lancet: Salient lessons from Russia’s COVID-19 outbreak
Editorial Board (6/6).

The Lancet: Indigenous populations: left behind in the COVID-19 response
Kaitlin Curtice, author and speaker, and Esther Choo, associate professor at the Department of Emergency Medicine at Oregon Health and Science University (6/6).

Project Syndicate: Human COVID-19 Vaccine Trials Are Unnecessary, Uninformative, and Unethical
William A. Haseltine, scientist, biotech entrepreneur, infectious disease expert, and chair and president of ACCESS Health International (6/4).

USA TODAY: Developing a COVID-19 vaccine is just half the battle — you have to get Americans to take it
Katherine Milkman, professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania with a secondary appointment at the Perelman School of Medicine and co-director of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative; Angela Duckworth, professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania and co-director of the Behavior Change for Good Initiative; and Mitesh S. Patel, professor at the Perelman School of Medicine with a secondary appointment at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, staff physician at the Cpl. Michael J. Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Philadelphia, and director of the Penn Medicine Nudge Unit (6/5).

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Editorial, Opinion Pieces Discuss WHO's Relationship With China Amid COVID-19 Pandemic, Agency's Role In Global Health, President Trump's Decision To Withdraw From Agency

New York Post: Why President Trump is entirely right to give up on WHO
Betsy McCaughey, chair of the Committee to Reduce Infection Deaths (6/4).

USA TODAY: I treat COVID patients and work with WHO. Trump is risking our health by cutting ties
Vanessa Kerry, critical care physician at Massachusetts General Hospital and founder and chief executive officer of Seed Global Health (6/5).

Wall Street Journal: How WHO Really Feels About China
Editorial Board (6/3).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases Address Various COVID-19 Issues

Brookings: Developing countries can respond to COVID-19 in ways that are swift, at scale, and successful
Larry Cooley, nonresident senior fellow, and Johannes F. Linn, nonresident senior fellow, both with Global Economy and Development at Brookings (6/4).

Brookings: Ensuring learning continuity for every African child in the time of COVID-19
Adedeji Adeniran, director of education (governance research) and senior fellow with the Center for the Studies of African Economies (6/4).

Brookings: Education is crucial to Africa’s COVID-19 response
Jean-Marc Bernard, senior education economist with the Global Partnership for Education (6/4).

Center for Global Development: The Indirect Health Effects of COVID-19: Lockdown Measures and Service Provision
Lydia Regan, research assistant, and Y-Ling Chi, senior Policy Analyst, both with CGD (6/4).

Center for Global Development: Is Nigeria Ready to Leave Lockdown?
Uzochukwu Benjamin, professor of public health, health policy and systems in the Department of Community Medicine and Health Administration & Management at University of Nigeria’s College of Medicine, and colleagues (6/4).

Council on Foreign Relations: Global Health Security Turns to Confront Cyber Threats
David P. Fidler, adjunct senior fellow for cybersecurity and global health at CFR (6/4).

Think Global Health: Dual Pandemics: Coronavirus and Gender-Based Violence
Karen Sherman, president of Akilah, an East African institute for women’s leadership and career development (6/1).

Think Global Health: Uncertainty and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Abraham Flaxman, associate professor of Health Metrics Sciences at the Institute, and Kevin O’Rourke, freelance scientific writer, both with the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) (6/1).

UNAIDS: Mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on key populations (6/4).

World Bank Blogs: Meeting the health needs of persons with disabilities during COVID-19 (coronavirus)
Charlotte V. McClain-Nhlapo, global disability adviser for the World Bank Group, and colleagues (6/4).

WHO: WHO welcomes crucial new funding for vaccines (6/4).

WHO Regional Office for Europe: Protecting nature protects health — lessons for the future from COVID-19 (6/5).

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Blog Posts Address U.S. Withdrawal From WHO

BMJ Opinion: What Trump’s threat to de-fund the WHO means for the United States and the world
Adam Kamradt-Scott, associate professor/reader in international security studies at the University of Sydney (6/4).

Science Speaks: The World Health Organization and the U.S.: A brief history of collaboration
Kenneth G. Castro, professor in the Hubert Department of Global Health & Department of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health (6/4).

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Article, Blogs, Releases Address Ebola In DRC, Gavi Replenishment, Health Of Women, Girls

BMJ: Investing in the health of girls and women: a best buy for sustainable development
Michelle Remme, research lead at United Nations University International Institute for Global Health in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and colleagues (6/2).

Council on Foreign Relations: Ebola Emerges in Northwestern DRC, WHO Responds
John Campbell, Ralph Bunche senior fellow for Africa Policy Studies (6/4).

European Commission: Coronavirus Global Response: European Commission pledges €300 million to Gavi (6/4).

Independent Commission for Aid Impact: The U.K.’s Work with Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (June 2020).

Médecins Sans Frontières: Fifteen mothers confirmed killed in Kabul maternity wing attack (6/3).

Think Global Health: Silenced Voices in Global Health
Katri Bertram, senior global health consultant, and colleagues (6/3).

UNFPA West and Central Africa: UNFPA welcomes the World Bank’s approval of an additional $376 million to advance women’s and girls’ empowerment in Africa (6/3).

UNICEF: HPV vaccine manufacturers commit to provide enough supply to immunize at least 84 million girls in Gavi countries (6/4).

Woodrow Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program’s “New Security Beat”: The Unseen Side of Pregnancy: Non-Communicable Diseases and Maternal Health (New Report)
Sarah Barnes, Maternal Health Initiative editor at the Wilson Center’s Environmental Change and Security Program, and colleagues (6/3).

 

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Officials Discuss Agency's Ongoing Priorities, COVID-19 Assistance In Africa During Digital Briefing

USAID: Digital Briefing On USAID’s Ongoing Development Priorities And COVID-19 Assistance Response In Africa
During this digital briefing, Kenneth Staley, USAID Global Malaria coordinator and COVID-19 Task Force leader, and Christopher Runyan, USAID senior coordinator for the Bureau for Africa, discuss USAID’s ongoing development priorities and COVID-19 response in Africa (6/4).

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GAO Reports Highlight COVID-19, Infectious Disease Modeling

Government Accountability Office: Science & Tech Spotlight: COVID-19 Modeling
This GAO report discusses the role of infectious disease models in helping to guide policy decisions, such as allocating health resources in the COVID-19 response. The report describes the science behind such models, as well as highlights opportunities, challenges, and questions to consider when using these models (6/4).

Government Accountability Office: Infectious Disease Modeling: Opportunities to Improve Coordination and Ensure Reproducibility
This GAO report examines how HHS uses and assesses infectious disease models and recommends “that HHS improve coordination of modeling across agencies and ensure models are reproducible, which helps build confidence in their results” (6/4).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of June 5, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 have been added to the tracker (6/5).

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. KFF’s blog series “Coronavirus Policy Watch” is available here.

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KFF Updates Fact Sheet On U.S., Gavi, The Vaccine Alliance

KFF: The U.S. and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance
This fact sheet examines Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (also known as Gavi), an independent, public-private partnership and multilateral funding mechanism that aims to increase access to immunization in poor countries, and explores the role the U.S. government plays in supporting the partnership (6/3).

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