Krishna Udayakumar – Deep Inequities “Baked Into” Early Vaccine Deals
Krishna Udayakumar explains how he systematically assembled data to make sense of the fast-moving global marketplace in vaccines, amid the pandemic, building on prior trust with private and public entities, and positioning the Duke Global Health Innovation Center as the go-to source. Starting in late 2020, that meant painting the picture of worsening inequities that reflected the overwhelming power advantages of wealthy states and powerhouse vaccine developers, rhetorical commitments to solidarity notwithstanding. We are now rapidly approaching a pivot point, as supply escalates later this year: estimated western production of 7 billion doses in 2021, 14 billion in 2022. The big worry looking ahead? Lack of delivery capacity and financing in low and lower-middle-income countries, which may, as a result, become “mired” in 20-40% coverage. The G7 summit was a “mixed bag, ” leaving us “nowhere near the end of the story.” The big question 12-18 months out: will it be a western consortium that vaccinates most of the low and lower-middle-income countries? Or will it be the world’s vaccine “workhorse,” China? Or some combination?