Michael Stolpe, 23 September 2021

To win the critical race between vaccines and mutations, the worldwide Covid-19 vaccination campaign must mobilise economies of scale. The most effective way to do so, this column argues, is to convert the existing Covid-19 Vaccines Global Access initiative into a more generously endowed global fund. Instead of merely obtaining the surplus vaccines of rich countries, and relying on unpredictable donations, the initiative should acquire the most promising vaccine patents and offer free production licenses to every qualified vaccine and generic drug manufacturer in the global South.

Banri Ito, 08 August 2021

In a policy reversal, the US has announced its support for a proposed temporary waiver of intellectual property rights on COVID-19-related pharmaceuticals, although it is unclear how much of the undisclosed information regarding unpatented elements would be disclosed in order to facilitate technology transfer to developing countries. This column argues that most efficient way to achieve equitable vaccine access would be to concentrate production in a smaller number of countries with sufficient production capacity. It also looks at the implications for Japan, which is caught in a dilemma between the need to vaccinate the population quickly and the need to secure incentives for developing domestic vaccine capacity for future pandemics.

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