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Missing the shot: global vaccine equity as the central moral challenge of the Covid-10 era
As we near our second year of a historic global pandemic, only 20% of people living in low- and lower-middle-income countries—who constitute most of the world’s population—have receive at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. By contrast, 80% of people living in upper-middle- and high-income countries have received at least one vaccine dose. More than two decades after the global HIV epidemic raised foundational questions about inequity in access to essential medicines, these stark disparities in vaccine access underscore our lack of progress as a global community.

In this event, our speakers will address critical questions regarding the path forward in the current crisis, including: What is the state of the Covid-19 vaccine rollout in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs)? What are the legal and technical barriers preventing LMICs from not just being recipients of vaccines, but also from producing these vaccines for themselves? How can high-income countries ensure open access and transfer of intellectual knowledge so everyone can produce these vaccines? What should individuals in the U.S. be doing to advance global vaccine equity?

Oct 20, 2021 12:00 PM in Eastern Time (US and Canada)

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Brook Baker, JD
Professor of Law, Northeastern University School of Law
Professor Brook K. Baker teaches disability discrimination law, negotiations, and a course on human rights, intellectual property, and access to medicines at Northeastern University School of Law. He is an honorary research fellow at the University of KwaZulu Natal in Durban, South Africa, and a senior policy analyst for Health GAP (Global Access Project), an AIDS activist organization. For twenty years he worked on expanded global access to antiretroviral therapy and more recently he has been working to accelerate equitable access to vaccines, medicines, and diagnostics to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. He has written and consulted extensively on intellectual property rights, trade, investor-state dispute settlement, access to medicines, and medicines regulatory policy, with multiple international organizations, countries, and advocacy groups. He has served as a board member of the NGO delegation to Unitaid.
Louise Ivers, MB, BCH, BAO, MD, MPH, DTM&H
Interim Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases, MGH Prof. of Medicine & Global Health & Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Dr. Louise Ivers is the Interim Chief of the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Division of Infectious Diseases, Executive Director of the MGH Center for Global Health, and Professor of Medicine and Global Health and Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Ivers has spent her career providing care to the rural and urban poor and engaging in patient-oriented investigation that offer solutions to barriers to healthcare. She works on the design, implementation, and evaluation of large-scale public health programs in resource-limited settings with the goal of achieving health equity. Since joining MGH in 2018, Dr. Ivers has worked to advance interdisciplinary partnerships by uniting global health faculty and staff across departments, centers, and institutes at MGH in the pursuit of positive global health change.
Richard Mihigo, MD, MPH
Coordinator, Immunization and Vaccines Development (IVD) Programme WHO Regional Office for Africa
Dr. Mihigo is a senior public health specialist with over 25 years of experience in designing, implementing and evaluating disease control programmes at national and international levels. He joined WHO in July 2004 and is currently the Coordinator of Immunization & Vaccines Development (IVD) in the WHO Regional Office for Africa in Brazzaville, Congo; a position he has held since 2014. In this position, Dr. Mihigo coordinates WHO’s technical support to Member States in the African Region in the planning, monitoring, and evaluation of immunization programmes. This includes supporting the development of policies, norms, and standards for national immunization vaccine regulation and research, establishing and strengthening partnership coordination. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020, Dr. Mihigo has been supporting WHO's response by coordinating efforts to support countries’ preparedness and deployment of the COVID-19 vaccines.