KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

President-Elect Biden's Coronavirus Team To Meet With Vaccine Makers This Week As Trump Administration Continues To Stall Transition; Biden Faces Changed Global Health World Order

CNBC: Biden team to meet with coronavirus vaccine makers this week as Trump stonewalls transition
“President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus advisors will meet with the leading drug companies developing coronavirus vaccines this week, Ron Klain, Biden’s newly selected chief of staff, said on Sunday. The meetings come even as President Donald Trump refuses to concede the election, though he acknowledged in a Tweet posted Sunday that Biden had won…” (Higgins-Dunn, 11/15).

POLITICO: Biden faces new global health world order
“The U.S. will soon be firmly back on the global health stage, but it may not be top dog anymore. While U.S. President Donald Trump announced plans to withdraw from the World Health Organization; undermined his administration’s top infectious disease expert and alienated himself from world leaders, other countries stepped in. European nations in particular have been able to carve out valuable roles for themselves in the global health space. U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to rescind his country’s planned withdrawal from the WHO on his first day in office, but his predecessor has left him a vastly changed political space…” (Furlong, 11/13).

Quartz: How the U.S. can help WHO change for the greater good
“The coronavirus pandemic has shown what public health experts have known for a while: The World Health Organization (WHO), the public health offshoot of the United Nations, needs to function better in order to keep the world healthy. President-elect Joe Biden will have a chance to help fix it — but that might mean letting the U.S. have less influence over the organization…” (Ossola, 11/16).

Additional coverage of President-elect Biden’s transition efforts is available from ABC, AP, Financial Times, New York Times, Reuters, and Science.

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Moderna Announces Coronavirus Vaccine Efficacy Of Nearly 95% In Preliminary Clinical Trial Results; Media Outlets Report On Other Vaccine Research, Issues

Washington Post: Moderna’s coronavirus vaccine found to be nearly 95 percent effective in a preliminary analysis
“Biotechnology firm Moderna announced Monday that a preliminary analysis shows its experimental coronavirus vaccine is nearly 95 percent effective at preventing illness, including severe cases — a striking initial result that leaves the United States with the prospect that two coronavirus vaccines could be available on a limited basis by the end of the year. The news comes a week after pharmaceutical giant Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech lifted the stock market and people’s hopes with the news that their coronavirus vaccine was more than 90 percent effective. … Moderna’s vaccine, co-developed with [Anthony] Fauci’s institute, is being tested in 30,000 people…” (Johnson, 11/16).

Additional coverage of Moderna’s announcement is available from AP, Bloomberg, CNBC, CNN, Reuters, and Wall Street Journal.

The Atlantic: Listen: A 90 Percent Effective Vaccine (Hamblin, 11/13).

CIDRAP News: Feds update vaccine arrival amid record U.S. COVID-19 rise (Schnirring, 11/13).

Financial Times: J&J to launch U.K. trial of its Covid-19 vaccine (Mancini, 11/15).

Forbes: Pfizer Has A Head Start, But The Covid-19 Vaccine Market Is Still Up For Grabs (Jennings, 11/13).

NBC News: The promise of coronavirus vaccine at a factory in India — and the looming fight over it (Engel et al., 11/15).

New York Times: How Pfizer Plans to Distribute Its Vaccine (It’s Complicated) (Robbins/Gelles, 11/12).

NPR: Who Gets The Vaccine First? And How Will They Get It? (Sophia et al., 11/16).

The Observer/Guardian: Speedy work on Covid gives the vaccine industry a shot in the arm (Kollewe, 11/14).

STAT: J&J supply chain exec: ‘I lose sleep’ over sending Covid-19 vaccine to lower-income countries (Silverman, 11/16).

The Telegraph: Oxford seeks to keep pace in hunt for game-changing vaccine (Boland, 11/16).

The Telegraph: How a deep-frozen vaccine reached 400,000 people, helped stop Ebola and holds hope for coronavirus (Rigby, 11/15).

TIME: Why You May Not Be Able to Get Pfizer’s Frontrunner COVID-19 Vaccine (Ducharme, 11/13).

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Vaccine Alone Will Not End COVID-19 Pandemic, WHO DG Says, Calling Out Chronic Under Investment In Health Systems In WHA Closing Remarks

AFP/CBS News: WHO chief warns that vaccine alone wouldn’t end COVID pandemic
“The head of the World Health Organization said Monday that a vaccine would not by itself stop the coronavirus pandemic. … ‘A vaccine will complement the other tools we have, not replace them,’ Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said. ‘A vaccine on its own will not end the pandemic’…” (11/16).

France 24: WHO reports record high number of Covid-19 cases over weekend
“…The WHO’s figures for Saturday showed that 660,905 coronavirus cases were reported to the U.N. health agency, setting a new high watermark. That number, and the 645,410 registered on Friday, surpassed the previous daily record high of 614,013 recorded on November 7…” (11/15).

U.N. News: COVID-19: Consequences of ‘chronic under-investment in public health’ laid bare: Tedros
“A global chronic under-investment in public health has been exposed by the coronavirus pandemic, which must now lead to a major re-think in how all societies value health, said the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) on Friday. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was making closing remarks at the closing of WHO’s governing body, the World Health Assembly, which finalized its annual session this week after its regular May meeting was cut short by COVID-19 safety requirements…” (11/13).

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Media Outlets Report On WHA Discussions, Including Health Emergency Early Warning Systems, Proposal On Palestinian Territories, Global Repository For Biological Samples

Devex: How should the world be warned of global health emergencies?
“There is high interest among a number of World Health Organization member states to introduce a differentiated alert level system for health emergencies, after many governments were accused of being slow in responding to the novel coronavirus outbreak. But the review committee tasked with looking into the regulations governing how WHO and countries respond to global health emergencies says the relevance of changing the alert system needs to be examined…” (Ravelo, 11/14).

Devex: Decision on Palestinian territories draws accusations of politics at WHA
“The World Health Assembly ventured into the hotly contested arena of Middle East politics last week and weighed in on health conditions in the Palestinian territories. With a vote of 78-14, the WHA adopted a deeply divisive decision asking the World Health Organization director general to continue providing technical and programmatic support in the Palestinian territories, and report on progress regarding access to and provision of health care there. The proposal, which was made by the delegations of Cuba, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Qatar, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, and Turkey, was viewed by some countries to contain an implicit attack on Israel — which occupies the Palestinian territories — and thus overly political for the health body to take on…” (Ravelo, 11/16).

Health Policy Watch: WHO Proposes Swiss-Based Global Repository For Sharing Biological Samples Related To Disease Outbreak Threats
“World Health Organization Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has proposed the creation of a Swiss-based global repository for sharing pathogen materials and clinical samples related to potential outbreak threats — allowing for the more rapid development of medical interventions. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown the urgent need for this kind of system, said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in his closing remarks to the 73th World Health Assembly…” (Rao/Fletcher, 11/13).

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G-20 Finance Ministers Agree To Framework To Help COVID-Hit Nations Pursue Debt Restructuring, Forgiveness

AP: G-20 agrees on framework for more debt relief amid COVID-19
“The Group of 20 nations, representing the world’s biggest economies, announced Friday that low-income countries hardest hit by the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic could potentially get an extension on their debt payments beyond mid-2021, and in the most severe cases, a debt write-off…” (Debre, 11/13).

Devex: G20 releases debt framework details
“The G-20 group of leading economies agreed to a debt framework to help countries pursue debt restructuring or forgiveness, building off of its Debt Service Suspension Initiative and recognizing that some nations may need additional relief, according to a communique released after an extraordinary meeting of G-20 finance ministers and central bank governors Friday. The framework, which is also agreed to by the Paris Club — the informal group of official creditors who coordinate solutions for debtor countries that have payment difficulties — is intended to ‘facilitate timely and orderly debt treatment for DSSI-eligible countries, with broad creditors’ participation including the private sector,’ according to the communique…” (Saldinger, 11/16).

The Observer/Guardian: World poverty rising as rich nations call in debt amid Covid, warns Gordon Brown
“It is being called the ‘great reversal.’ After decades of progress, the international goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030 is in jeopardy, Gordon Brown has warned, as developing countries battling the coronavirus sacrifice their health and education systems to pay western and Chinese creditors. … [T]he ability of many developing countries to tackle Covid-19 is severely limited by their debt obligations. With little financial support flowing from the IMF and the World Bank, some governments face a stark choice between repaying creditors or funding crucial public services…” (Doward, 11/15).

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OECD Head Says SDG Financing Off Track, Developing Country Economies Hit Hard By COVID-19

Thomson Reuters Foundation: Financing for global goals under threat just when most needed, says OECD head
“The COVID-19 crisis has pushed to $4 trillion this year’s shortfall in funding needed for developing nations to meet global goals to end poverty and hunger by 2030, throwing them further off track, a summit of public banks heard on Thursday. Angel Gurría, secretary general of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), noted that 90 out of 122 developing countries had entered recession as shutdowns to curb coronavirus hit sectors like tourism and manufacturing. Developing nations have seen a $700-billion drop in external private finance this year due to a decline in foreign investment and remittances, he added…” (Rowling, 11/12).

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School Reopenings In Africa Bring Anxiety; Coronavirus Circulating Earlier Than Thought In Italy; Iran Experiencing Worst Epidemic In Middle East; U.S. Passes 11M Cases


AP: As schools reopen in Africa, relief is matched by anxiety (Muhumuza/Odula, 11/16).


Reuters: China finds coronavirus on frozen meat, packaging from Latin America, New Zealand (Singh et al., 11/15).

Reuters: N.Korea’s Kim orders tightening of anti-virus measures amid global pandemic — KCNA (Cha, 11/15).


The Guardian: Mothers needlessly separated from babies under U.K. hospital Covid rules (Johnson, 11/16).

New York Times: Spain’s Other Covid Casualties: Undetected Cancer Cases (Minder, 11/16).

Reuters: Researchers find coronavirus was circulating in Italy earlier than thought (Vagnoni/Nebehay, 11/16).


Axios: COVID hits first cruise ship to return to Caribbean since pandemic stalled industry (11/14).


Borgen Magazine: COVID-19: Education in the Middle East and North Africa (Mendez, 11/15).

CBS News: Iran experiencing the worst coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East (Palmer, 11/14).


CNN: States enact more Covid-19 rules as the U.S. hits 11 million cases (Yan et al., 11/15).

Washington Post: Canadian coronavirus cases grow and spread as once-effective unity frays (Coletta, 11/16).

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Diabetes Increases Risk Of Poor COVID-19 Outcomes, Continues To Rise In LMICs, U.N. SG Warns On World Day

U.N. News: Diabetes increasing COVID risks, showing need to strengthen health systems
“As the number of people with diabetes surges, many are at ‘increased risk of severe disease and death from COVID-19,’ the U.N. chief said in his message for World Diabetes Day, on Saturday. ‘Many efforts have been made to prevent and treat diabetes,’ but the disease continues to rise rapidly in low- and middle-income countries, those ‘least well-equipped with the diagnostics, medicines, and knowledge to provide life-saving treatment,’ said Secretary-General António Guterres. … Next year, WHO is launching the Global Diabetes Compact, ‘a new initiative that will bring structure and coherence to our complementary efforts to reduce the burden of diabetes,’ informed Mr. Guterres…” (11/13).

Additional coverage of the global diabetes epidemic and the pandemic’s impact on diabetes care in Cameroon is available from Healio and VOA News.

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WFP Executive Director Warns 2021 Will Be Worse Than 2020 For Food Security, Funding

AP: Nobel U.N. food agency warns 2021 will be worse than 2020
“The head of the World Food Program says the Nobel Peace Prize has given the U.N. agency a spotlight and megaphone to warn world leaders that next year is going to be worse than this year, and without billions of dollars ‘we are going to have famines of biblical proportions in 2021.’ David Beasley said in an interview with The Associated Press that the Norwegian Nobel Committee was looking at the work the agency does every day in conflicts, disasters, and refugee camps, often putting staffers’ lives at risk to feed millions of hungry people — but also to send ‘a message to the world that it’s getting worse out there … (and) that our hardest work is yet to come’…” (Lederer, 11/14).

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Global Nursing Shortage, 'Brain Drain' From LMICs Discussed At Geneva Health Forum, World Health Assembly

Health Policy Watch: Addressing Global Nurses’ Shortage Means Tackling Ethics Of Migration, Working Conditions & Gender Equity
“The Year of The Nurse And Midwife, 2020 will be a featured topic at the Geneva Health Forum on Monday, opening day of the conference (16-18 November). Raisa Santos discusses the dilemmas facing nurses worldwide — informed by her own experiences…” (Santos, 11/13).

Health Policy Watch: Low- & Middle-Income Countries Suffer From ‘Brain Drain’ Of Nurses That Threatens Their Health Services — International Council of Nurses
“The migration of health professionals to high-income countries should not lead to a dearth of healthcare workers and services low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), the International Council of Nurses (ICN) has warned. Speaking at the World Health Assembly (WHA), the council flagged that the global shortage of six million nurses, in tandem with the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic, would continue to drive health worker migration, leading nurses away from LMICs…” (Adepoju, 11/12).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

BBC: How North Korea is trying to tackle smoking (Bhat, 11/14).

Forbes: Lives Lost On The World’s Roads — ‘A Covid-19 Pandemic Every Year’ (Mohn, 11/15).

Foreign Policy: U.N. Peacemaking in the Age of Plague (Lynch, 11/13).

The Guardian: The defeat of polio proved that immunization saved lives, but there’s a sting to the tale (McKie, 11/15).

PBS NewsHour: In Pakistan, 1 of 20 kids dies before age 5. This group is trying to change that (Lazaro, 11/13).

U.N. News: South Sudan: ‘No child anywhere should suffer from polio’ — U.N. health agency (11/13).

Washington Post: Dozens dead and villages submerged days after Typhoon Vamco pummels the Philippines (Cabato/Berger, 11/14).

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Editorials and Opinions

Opinion Pieces Discuss COVID-19, Global Health Challenges, Opportunities Facing President-Elect Biden, Including Global Health Security, Cooperation With China, Equity

The Hill: A Biden strategy for genuine global health security
Chris Collins, president and CEO, and Mark P. Lagon, chief policy officer, both at Friends of the Global Fight Against AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (11/14).

The Hill: Biden’s initiative on COVID-19 should include cooperation with China
Robert Hormats, managing director of Tiedemann Advisors (11/15).

NPR: Opinion: To Solve The Pandemic, Biden Must Focus On Equity
Abraar Karan, physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, and colleagues (11/13).

Washington Post: What’s missing from Joe Biden’s covid-19 advisory board
Leana S. Wen, Washington Post contributing columnist, emergency physician, and visiting professor at George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (11/13).

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Editorials, Opinion Pieces Discuss Various Aspects Of COVID-19 Pandemic, Including Vaccine Hesitancy, Benefits Of At-Home Testing, Need For Understanding Coronavirus Origins

The Atlantic: For a Vaccine to Save Lives, Society Has to Make Some Decisions
Thomas J. Bollyky, director of the global health program at the Council on Foreign Relations (11/14).

The Guardian: It’s the ‘vaccine hesitant,’ not anti-vaxxers, who are troubling public health experts
Gaby Hinsliff, Guardian columnist (11/16).

The Guardian: It’s not just the vaccine. There are many causes for hope in the fight against Covid
Devi Sridhar, chair of global public health at the University of Edinburgh (11/16).

STAT: Build a plan for Covid-19 home testing on reason, not speculation or politics
Elliott J. Millenson, CEO of Global Diagnostic Systems, and William A. Haseltine, chair of ACCESS Health International (11/16).

Washington Post: The coronavirus’s origins are still a mystery. We need a full investigation
Editorial Board (11/14).

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USAID's Mission Must Not Be Obstructed During Presidential Transition, Opinion Piece Says

The Hill: USAID’s mission is too important to politicize and obstruct
Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, president and CEO of Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service

“…Dysfunction and obstruction at USAID could not happen at a worse time. The agency operates at the intersection of our four most pressing national and global crises — the coronavirus pandemic, global economic recession, climate change, and structural racism — and could play a pivotal role in addressing each. … Even during a two-month transition — indeed especially then — we need USAID to do its job. When the Trump administration mulled a plan in 2019 to cut billions in foreign aid, which would have gutted USAID, Republican leaders joined their Democratic counterparts to appreciate that decimating this institution was ‘short-sighted’ and a threat to national security. President-elect Biden manifestly gets this. It would be a bipartisan shame if the agency were left in political tatters before it has a chance to lead again” (11/15).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

Blog Posts, Releases Address Topics Related To COVID-19 Pandemic, Including ACT Accelerator, Strengthening Health Care Systems, Vaccine Distribution, Meeting SDGs

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation: Melinda Gates: Will the world be generous enough to defeat COVID-19?
Melinda Gates, co-chair at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (11/12).

WHO: Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator commitments reach US$ 5.1billion following new contributions, including at Paris Peace Forum (11/13).

WHO: Guidance on developing a national deployment and vaccination plan for COVID-19 vaccines (11/16).

World Bank Blogs: Strong health care systems are key to deliver COVID-19 vaccines
Muhammad Ali Pate, global director of health, nutrition and population at the World Bank and director of the Global Financing Facility for Women, Children and Adolescents (GFF) (11/12).

World Economic Forum: We can use COVID-19 as a force for grassroots change. Here’s how
Rana Dajani, founder of We Love Reading (11/14).

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Funding Gap For Global HIV Response Widening, UNAIDS Says

UNAIDS: HIV financing gap widening
“The funding gap for HIV responses is widening. Momentum established following global agreement on the Millennium Development Goals in 2000 has been lost in the Sustainable Development Goal era. Increases in resources for HIV responses in low- and middle-income countries halted in 2017, with funding decreasing by 7% between 2017 and 2019 (to US$ 18.6 billion in constant 2016 United States dollars). The total funding available in 2019 for HIV in these countries amounted to about 70% of the 2020 target set by the United Nations General Assembly…” (11/16).

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Polio Vaccine Becomes First-Ever Vaccine Listed Under WHO Emergency Use

WHO: First-ever vaccine listed under WHO emergency use
“WHO [on Friday] listed the nOPV2 vaccine (Bio Farma, Indonesia) for emergency use to address the rising cases of a vaccine-derived polio strain in a number of African and East Mediterranean countries. … The emergency use listing, or EUL, is the first of its kind for a vaccine and paves the way for potential listing of COVID-19 vaccines…” (11/13).

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Integrated, Patient-Partnered Approach Needed To Care For People Living With Diabetes, Other Chronic Conditions, Expert Says

World Economic Forum: Silos in health care are bad for us. Here’s the cure
Laurence Sperling, chair of the World Heart Federation group on the Roadmap for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention among People Living with Diabetes and professor in preventive cardiology at the Emory University School of Medicine, discusses the importance of breaking down silos in health care and the need for an integrated approach, writing, “We need to take collective action to improve global health as well as health care in the future. We need an integrated and patient-partnered approach to caring for people living with diseases like diabetes. And we need to start breaking down silos at all levels to reap the economic and medical rewards this offers” (11/14).

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From the U.S. Government

President Trump Provides Remarks On Operation Warp Speed

White House: Remarks by President Trump During an Update on Operation Warp Speed
During remarks on Friday, November 13, President Trump provided an update on Operation Warp Speed’s efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutics (11/13).

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U.S., ASEAN Provide Joint Statement On Human Capital Development At 8th Summit

White House: Joint Statement on Human Capital Development at the 8th ASEAN-U.S. Summit
In a joint statement at the 8th ASEAN-U.S. Summit, heads of state/governments underscored their shared commitment to strengthening the ASEAN-U.S. Strategic Partnership through cooperation to advance human capital development in the region. The parties agreed to “[s]upport continued partnership in our shared health futures, reaffirming the importance of investing in training in health to strengthen human capital especially for the health of children and youth, older persons, women and girls, persons with disabilities, and vulnerable groups, and recognize the need to prioritize global health security…” (11/13).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of November 16, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (11/16).

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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