KFF Daily Global Health Policy Report

In The News

New York Times Examines Trump's Withdrawal From WHO, List Of Demands Given To WHO DG Prior To Announcement

New York Times: Trump Gave WHO a List of Demands. Hours Later, He Walked Away.
“In late May, the American ambassador in Geneva, Andrew Bremberg, went on a rescue mission to the World Health Organization headquarters. He told its director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, that despite weeks of threats that President Trump would quit the health organization, the relationship could still be salvaged. Mr. Bremberg hand-delivered a list of seven demands that American officials saw as the beginning of discreet discussions. Hours later, Mr. Trump took the lectern outside the White House and blew it all up, announcing that the United States would leave the WHO. The announcement blindsided his own diplomats and Dr. Tedros alike. … While the Trump administration’s demands are now moot, they offer a glimpse into both the growing American frustration with the WHO and Mr. Trump’s personal grievances. And as Mr. Biden signals a return to multinational diplomacy, the Trump administration’s demands offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the deal-making of a president who favored aggressive, unpredictable moves over more conventional negotiations…” (Apuzzo et al., 11/27).

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Birx Hopes To Brief President-Elect Biden On Pandemic; Biden Adds Members To COVID-19 Transition Team; POLITICO Examines Incoming Chief Of Staff Klain's Experience

CNBC: White House health adviser Birx hopes to brief Biden Monday on coronavirus response
“White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx said she hopes to brief President-elect Joe Biden’s administration on America’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic on Monday. ‘I think the one thing that we will be able to bring to the Biden administration in that discussion is to understand how they want to see the data,’ Birx said during a Sunday interview on CBS ‘Face the Nation.’ The Biden transition team did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment…” (Macias, 11/29).

CNN: Here’s who’s on President-elect Biden’s newly formed Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board
“President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris’ newly appointed Transition Covid-19 Advisory Board is led by established public health officials and staffed by a mix of doctors and current and former government officials, some with high-profile media visibility. … Here’s a look at who he has appointed to the board so far…” (Levenson, 11/28).

The Hill: Biden transition adds new members to coronavirus task force
“President-elect Joe Biden announced Saturday he is adding three new members to his transition team’s coronavirus task force as the incoming administration focuses on preparation to tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The transition said in a statement that Jane Hopkins, Jill Jim, and David Michaels are joining the team, which is co-chaired by David Kessler, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, and Marcella Nunez-Smith…” (Axelrod, 11/28).

POLITICO: Biden’s chief of staff has battled pandemics before. Here’s how he plans to beat this one.
“…Six years ago, President Barack Obama and his administration feared the kind of calamitous situation the coronavirus has unfortunately caused. To help ensure that did not happen, Obama tapped a veteran Democratic operative, Ron Klain, to oversee the response to the [Ebola] outbreak in West Africa that had already made its way to the U.S. Now Klain is on the verge of returning to the White House as chief of staff to President-elect Joe Biden as the country battles a raging pandemic far more deadly and pervasive than Ebola ever became. As one of the key architects of the incoming administration’s Covid-19 plan, Klain’s experience is already shaping how the next administration will respond…” (Ollstein, 11/30).

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Moderna To Submit For Emergency Use Of Coronavirus Vaccine; Study Results Show 94% Efficacy In Preventing Symptoms Among Infected Individuals

AP: Moderna asking U.S., European regulators to OK its virus shots
“Moderna Inc. said it would ask U.S. and European regulators Monday to allow emergency use of its COVID-19 vaccine as new study results confirm the shots offer strong protection — ramping up the race to begin limited vaccinations as the coronavirus rampage worsens. … Moderna is just behind Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in seeking to begin vaccinations in the U.S. in December. Across the Atlantic, British regulators also are assessing the Pfizer shot and another from AstraZeneca. Moderna created its shots with the U.S. National Institutes of Health and already had a hint they were working, but said it got the final needed results over the weekend that suggest the vaccine is more than 94% effective…” (Neergaard, 11/30).

Science: ‘Absolutely remarkable’ : No one who got Moderna’s vaccine in trial developed severe COVID-19
“Continuing the spate of stunning news about COVID-19 vaccines, the biotech company Moderna announced the final results of the 30,000-person efficacy trial for its candidate in a press release today: Only 11 people who received two doses of the vaccine developed COVID-19 symptoms after being infected with the pandemic coronavirus, versus 185 symptomatic cases in a placebo group. That is an efficacy of 94.1%, the company says, far above what many vaccine scientists were expecting just a few weeks ago. More impressive still, Moderna’s candidate had 100% efficacy against severe disease. There were zero such COVID-19 cases among the vaccinees, but 30 in the placebo group…” (Cohen, 11/30).

Additional coverage of Moderna’s vaccine is available from Financial Times, New York Times, STAT, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post.

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News Outlets Discuss Coronavirus Vaccine R&D, Distribution, Access, Funding

AP: U.K. stocks up on vaccines, hopes to start virus shots in days (Lawless, 11/29).

DW: Coronavirus digest: Britain names COVID vaccine minister (11/28).

DW: Coronavirus vaccine — how to distribute it around the world? (Zivkovic, 11/27).

Financial Times: International rollout of Covid-19 vaccine on track for next month (Mancini et al., 11/29).

Financial Times: Covid vaccines offer Big Pharma a chance of rehabilitation (Neville/Kuchler, 11/27).

Fortune: Pfizer’s COVID vaccine comes with a chilly complication. But that may change (Morris, 11/28).

The Guardian: China hopes ‘vaccine diplomacy’ will restore its image and boost its influence (Graham-Harrison/Phillips, 11/28).

The Hill: First doses of Pfizer coronavirus vaccine have flown to U.S. from Belgium: report (Deese, 11/28).

The Hill: U.K. to approve Pfizer and BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine next week: report (Williams, 11/28).

KHN: How Pharma Money Colors Operation Warp Speed’s Quest to Defeat COVID (Pradhan, 11/30).

STAT: Divisions emerge among U.S. officials over when first Covid-19 vaccine doses will be available — and for whom (Branswell, 11/30).

The Telegraph: Divisions emerge among U.S. officials over when first Covid-19 vaccine doses will be available — and for whom (Hargreaves, 11/28).

U.N. News: COVID-19: Testing still vital even as vaccines roll out (11/27).

U.N. News: African nations ‘far from ready’ for COVID-19 vaccination drive, says U.N. health agency (11/27).

Wall Street Journal: Covid-19 Vaccine Studies May Suffer as Volunteers Consider Dropping Out (Winkler et al., 11/27).

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Devex Examines Proposed Legislation To Change U.K. Official Development Assistance Spending; Aid Experts, Charities React

Devex: DevExplains: Why the U.K. government wants to change the International Development Act
“In a week of shock waves for the United Kingdom’s development sector, an unclear path now lies ahead. On Thursday, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced the government would be introducing new legislation to allow it to spend less on official development assistance. This followed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s announcement that the U.K. will not be spending 0.7% of gross national income on official development assistance, instead dropping the amount to 0.5% of GNI, amid the economic chaos caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. But does the government really need to bring new legislation, and how much do we know about its plans? Devex asked the experts…” (Worley, 11/27).

The Guardian: U.K. aid cuts ‘unprincipled, unjustified and harmful,’ say experts and MPs
“The U.K. aid cuts announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak could see a million girls lose out on schooling, nearly three million women and children go without life-saving nutrition, and 5.6 million children left unvaccinated, causing up to 100,000 deaths, charities, aid experts, and MPs have said. They described the slash in funding to overseas aid, from 0.7% to 0.5% of Britain’s gross national income, as ‘unprincipled, unjustified, and harmful’ just as a global health crisis is throwing decades of progress on poverty, healthcare, and education into reverse. There was wide agreement that women and girls would be the hardest hit…” (McVeigh/Beaumont, 11/26).

POLITICO: U.K.’s ‘Trumpian’ slash to foreign aid cast as potential blow to global health
“…[T]he U.K.’s cut to overseas aid risks further damaging the sector and tarnishing the U.K.’s leadership role, warn health advocacy groups. As those working in global health scramble to undo the damage caused by already-disrupted health programs, such as canceled measles vaccination campaigns and a significant decrease in HIV testing, they face having much less cash to do it with. … This decision is ‘really devastating for the U.K. as an international leader in development, global health, and the HIV response,’ said Jenny Vaughan, senior advocacy adviser at STOPAIDS. In particular, the cut puts future increases to projects such as the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria at risk, she warned…” (Furlong, 11/27).

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Nations Must Step Up Efforts To Treat, Prevent HIV Amid COVID-19 Pandemic To Fend Off Increases In Cases, Deaths, UNAIDS World AIDS Day Report Says

U.N. News: Global HIV toll likely to be far higher owing to COVID-19, warns UNAIDS
“Countries should adopt ambitious new targets to tackle HIV/AIDS to avoid hundreds of thousands of additional infections and deaths linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.N. said on Thursday. In its appeal, the specialized U.N. agency UNAIDS warned that the pandemic has pushed the world’s AIDS response even further off track, and that 2020 targets are being missed. It urged countries to learn from the lessons of underinvesting in healthcare and to step up global action to end AIDS and other global health emergencies…” (11/26).

Additional coverage of the UNAIDS World AIDS Day report and a UNICEF report on children and HIV is available from The Guardian, U.N. News, and VOA News.

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Funding Shortfalls, Disruptions In Treatment, Prevention Efforts Could Increase Malaria Death Toll, Especially In Africa, WHO Warns In Annual Report

Al Jazeera: Malaria gains at risk from COVID-19 pandemic: WHO
“Funding shortfalls and disruptions to treatment in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic risk tens of thousands more lives being lost to malaria, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned in its annual report on the mosquito-borne disease on Monday. The U.N.’s health agency said it was concerned that even moderate disruptions in access to treatment could lead to a ‘considerable loss of life’…” (11/30).

Additional coverage of the WHO’s annual malaria report is available from Reuters, The Telegraph, and U.N. News.

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New WHO Guidelines Underscore Importance Of Physical Activity, Negative Impacts Of Sedentary Behavior

VOA News: U.N. Agency: Physical Activity Can Save Up to 5 Million Lives a Year
“The World Health Organization is urging people to get moving and keep moving for better health. The U.N. health agency says physical activity can avert the deaths of up to 5 million people annually. … New WHO guidelines recommend adults engage in at least 150 to 300 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic activity per week, and an average of 60 minutes a day for children and adolescents. For the first time, WHO’s unit head for physical activity, Fiona Bull, says the guidelines delve into the impact of sedentary behavior on health…” (Schlein, 11/29).

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More COVID-19 & Global Health News

AFP/France 24: Thousands in Argentina march against new move to legalize abortion (11/28).

BBC News: Detained and forced to have a ‘virginity test’ (11/27).

Borgen Magazine: Food Fortification in Africa Fights Hidden Hunger (Beutel, 11/30).

The Guardian: A year after Wuhan alarm, China seeks to change Covid origin story (Graham-Harrison/McKie, 11/29).

The Guardian: Sudan says it will stamp out child marriage and enforce ban on FGM (Akinwotu, 11/27).

The Guardian: Yemen: in a country stalked by disease, Covid barely registers (McKernan, 11/27).

The Lancet: Afghanistan braced for second wave of COVID-19 (Cousins, 11/28).

New York Times: They Beat Back the Virus (Again and Again and Again) (Ives et al., 11/27).

Reuters: Yemen pushes polio immunization in bid to stem outbreak (11/30).

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Editorials and Opinions

Editorial, Opinion Pieces Address COVID-19 Vaccine Access, R&D, Maintaining HIV Response Amid Pandemic

The Hill: We don’t have to be frozen out of COVID-19 vaccine
Corey Casper, chief executive officer at the Infectious Disease Research Institute (IDRI) and clinical professor of medicine and global health at the University of Washington (11/27).

IPS: U.N. Special Session on COVID-19 Must Recognize Right to Health & Access to Vaccines
Riccardo Petrella, emeritus professor at Catholic University of Louvain (11/30).

The Lancet: Maintaining the HIV response in a world shaped by COVID-19
Editorial Board (11/28).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss U.S. Role In Global Health, Reproductive Rights

Al Jazeera: On global health, Biden needs to achieve more than just a reset
Kiiza Africa, researcher, activist, and development anthropologist with SEATINI-Uganda and member of the Progressive International COVID-19 Response Collective, and colleagues (11/27).

The Hill: Biden and reproductive health rights
Bridget Kelly, research director of the Population Institute (11/28).

Ms. Magazine: The Trump Administration’s Further Expansion of the Global Gag Rule and Its Impact on Global Health
Seema Mohapatra, tenured faculty member at Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law and visiting professor at FAMU College of Law (11/27).

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Opinion Pieces Discuss Potential Impacts Of Cuts To U.K. Foreign Aid Budget

Bloomberg: The U.K. Only Hurts Itself by Slashing Aid Budget
Mihir Sharma, Bloomberg Opinion columnist (11/29).

The Conversation: Cuts to U.K. foreign aid budget are shortsighted and could damage British interests
Victoria Honeyman, associate professor of British politics at the University of Leeds (11/25).

Financial Times: U.K. must keep its foreign aid promises
Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury (11/27).

The Guardian: Cutting U.K. overseas aid in the name of Covid fiscal prudence is pure nonsense
Larry Elliott, economics editor at The Guardian (11/29).

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From the Global Health Policy Community

CGD Blog Posts Address Topics Related To Global COVID-19 Vaccine Development, Allocation

Center for Global Development: The Domestic Allocation Of COVID-19 Vaccines in Low- and Middle-Income Countries, Who Goes First?
Vageesh Jain, non-resident fellow at CGD (11/25).

Center for Global Development: Launching an Interactive Webtool to Analyze the COVID-19 Vaccine Portfolio
Anthony McDonnell, senior policy analyst at CGD, and colleagues (11/23).

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HIV Policy Lab Collaboration Releases Analysis Of HIV Policy Barriers Globally

HIV Policy Lab: 2020 Global HIV Policy Report: Policy Barriers to HIV Progress
The HIV Policy Lab is a collaboration between Georgetown University’s O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, UNAIDS, the Global Network of People Living with HIV (GNP+), and Talus Analytics. In a new report, the HIV Policy Lab team “presents the state of HIV policy in countries around the world in 2020. Drawing on data from the HIV Policy Lab, it tracks which countries have adopted 33 key HIV-related laws and policies recommended by UNAIDS and WHO and which have not. Overall it shows that policy barriers exist throughout the world that undermine access to high-quality HIV treatment and prevention and increase people’s vulnerability to HIV infection and death. Not a single country has adopted all 33 recommended policies — policy change is needed everywhere in order to end AIDS” (11/30).

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Rethinking Humanitarianism Podcast Series Releases 4th Episode On Future Of Aid

New Humanitarian/Center for Global Development: The Future of Aid: Rethinking Humanitarianism Episode 4
“…In this fourth episode of the Rethinking Humanitarianism podcast series, hosts Heba Aly and Jeremy Konyndyk talk to three disruptors about their visions for alternative humanitarian action. They delve into mergers of international NGOs with Simon O’Connell, the incoming CEO of SNV, an international development organization based in The Netherlands. They unpack networked humanitarianism with Paul Currion, the founder of a blockchain company for the aid industry. And they hear a vision of local solidarity from Muthoni Wanyeki, regional director for Africa at the Open Society Foundations…” (11/25).

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11M Children Under 5 Across 11 Countries Facing Extreme Hunger, Starvation, Save The Children Analysis Shows

Save the Children: 11M Children Under Five at Risk of Extreme Hunger or Starvation Across Eleven Countries
“An estimated 11 million children under five are facing extreme hunger or starvation across eleven countries in Africa, the Caribbean, Middle East, and Asia, new analysis by Save the Children reveals, with the potential risk of famine in Yemen and South Sudan. The aid agency is calling for an urgent and large-scale global response to help avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Save the Children is particularly concerned for children in five ‘hunger hotspot’ countries/regions where the food crisis is extremely serious, made worse by insecurity: Afghanistan, Yemen, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Central Sahel (Mali, Niger & Burkina Faso). COVID-19, conflict, and climate change could tip millions of families over the edge…” (11/30).

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From the U.S. Government

USAID Program Aims To Improve Availability Of Malaria Commodities In Thailand, Laos

USAID: The Global Health Supply Chain — Procurement and Supply Management
This fact sheet provides an overview of USAID’s Global Health Supply Chain — Procurement and Supply Management (GHSC-PSM) activity, which “supports the Thai and Laotian Ministries of Health and malaria partners in the procurement, supply chain management, and monitoring and reporting of malaria commodities, such as long-lasting insecticide-treated nets, artemisinin-based combination therapies, and malaria rapid diagnostic tests” and aims to improve the long-term availability of malaria commodities in Thailand and Laos (11/20).

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From KFF

KFF Provides Resources On Global, Domestic Aspects Of Pandemic

KFF: COVID-19 Coronavirus Tracker — Updated as of November 30, 2020
Data on country government actions in response to COVID-19 are included in the tracker (11/30).

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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