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The project will culminate in an event in Geneva during the 2021 World Health Assembly, where the findings of the project will be presented to member states representatives, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and non-governmental organisations.

Please check back here periodically for updates on the project.

A specialist in Global Health Law from Keele University has received funding for a new study looking into ways of ensuring a Covid-19 vaccine is made equally accessible to everyone.

Dr Mark Eccleston-Turner, from Keele’s School of Law, is leading the research which will investigate the equitable distribution of any potential Covid-19 vaccine in the context of international law.

Dr Eccleston-Turner and his co-authors, Dr Alexandra Phelan of Georgetown University, USA and Dr Michelle Rourke of Griffith University in Australia, have received £120,000 from the Arts and Humanities Research Council for the year-long study, which will focus on how a vaccine might be fairly and equitably distributed around the world, if one is developed.

Although a vaccine is an integral part of every nation’s response to Covid-19, it is not yet clear how or whether this would be distributed fairly and equitably around the world, with previous pandemics highlighting the problems this can cause. One such case was the Swine Flu (H1N1) pandemic of 2009, where developing countries were reliant on donations from wealthy countries to gain access to the vaccine.

Dr Eccleston-Turner said: “Developing countries may not have access to a Covid-19 vaccine without some sort of a governance framework guiding international allocation being put in place. That is what has happened in previous pandemics – such as the 2009-H1N1 pandemic.

“Wealthy countries dominated procurement of pandemic influenza vaccine, and developing countries only got access to the vaccine much later on in the pandemic, when it is less effective, and in much smaller doses. This is poor public health, and it is poor multilateralism. It is morally wrong to think that someone has a stronger claim to a vaccine because they happen to live in a rich country.”

The project will culminate in an event in Geneva during the 2021 World Health Assembly, where the findings of the project will be presented to member states representatives, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and non-governmental organisations.

The findings of this research will be used to make recommendations to the WHO and governments around the world on how to better design an equitable allocation model.

Alexandra Phelan discussed access to vaccine and the project on:

CBC Canada, (Toronto, Vancouver, Halifax & Montreal editions) 06 July 2020 

Podcast for Ontario version (Monday July 6) available at: https://www.cbc.ca/radio/podcasts/ontario/ontario-morning/ https://cbc.mc.tritondigital.com/CBC_ONTARIOMORNING_P/media/ontariomorning-xLefqG0g-20200706.mp3

Mark Eccleston-Turner, ‘How countries get away with hoarding drugs in a pandemic’ The Conversation July 6, 2020, https://theconversation.com/how-countries-get-away-with-hoarding-drugs-in-a-pandemic-141854#comment_2272501

Michelle Rourke & Mark Eccleston-Turner, ‘ WHO Decides? The “Fair and Equitable” Distribution of COVID-19 Vaccines’ 25 August 2020 Griffith News, university of Griffith blog https://news.griffith.edu.au/2020/08/25/who-decides-the-fair-and-equitable-distribution-of-covid-19-vaccines/  reposted in full by “Mirage News”, an Australian online news platform. https://www.miragenews.com/who-decides-fair-and-equitable-distribution-of-covid-19-vaccines/

Alexandra Phelan quoted in “The global risk of “vaccine nationalism” in Vox, 27 July 2020 https://www.vox.com/21327487/covid-19-vaccine-coronavirus-trump-us-china-competition?utm_campaign=vox&utm_content=entry&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter

Alexandra Phelan quoted at Khamsi R. If a coronavirus vaccine arrives, can the world make enough? Nature. 2020;580(7805):578-580. https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-01063-8

Alexandra Phelan quoted in “‘Vaccine nationalism’ threatens global plan to distribute COVID-19 shots fairly” 28 July 2020 Science Magazine, https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2020/07/vaccine-nationalism-threatens-global-plan-distribute-covid-19-shots-fairly 

Harry Upon, ‘What is the COVAX Facility and how will it improve access to vaccines for Covid-19?’ 29 July 2020 https://blogs.keele.ac.uk/what-is-the-covax-facility-and-how-will-it-improve-access-to-vaccines-for-covid-19-3a17e3c9bb75

Mark Eccleston-Turner & Harry Upton, ‘The procurement of a COVID-19 vaccine in developing countries: Lessons from the 2009-H1N1 pandemic’ in Arrowsmith S, Butler L, La Chimia A (eds) Public Procurement in (a) Crisis:  global lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic (Hart, 2021).https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3719109

Mark Eccleston-Turner & Harry Upton delivered a briefing to Members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords on ‘The COVAX Facility and Equitable Access to Vaccines for COVID-19 in Developing Countries. The briefing report is available at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/uya54vpgof03wp7/The%20COVAX%20Facility%20and%20%20Equitable%20Access%20to%20Vaccines%20for%20COVID-19%20in%20Developing%20Countries%20%20.pdf?dl=0

Alexandra Phelan, Global Vaccine Justice & Equity: Ethical Duties & the COVID19 Pandemic. Milken Institute School of Public Health, George Washington University: https://youtu.be/JOQHuoXPNTg?t=900

Alexandra Phelan, Eccleston-Turner, Rourke, Maleche & Wang, ‘Legal agreements: barriers and enablers to global equitable COVID-19 vaccine access’ The Lancet,2020 https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)31873-0/fulltext?utm_campaign=tlcoronavirus20&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social

Harry Upton quoted in “Coronavirus: global vaccine equity threatened by national self-interest, says UN” 11 September 2020, South China Morning Post https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3101169/coronavirus-global-vaccine-equity-threatened-national-self

Mark Eccleston-Turner spoke at the AHRC lunchtime seminar series about the project, 28 October 2020

Mark Eccleston-Turner quoted in ‘Rich countries are total vaccine hogs. Covid-19 must change that’ 5 October 2020 Wired https://www.wired.co.uk/article/coronavirus-vaccine-distribution

Mark Eccleston-Turner, quoted in ‘China will fulfil its promise to make its vaccines a global public good, foreign minister says’ 19 October 2020 South China Morning Post https://www.scmp.com/news/china/diplomacy/article/3106019/coronavirus-china-will-fulfil-its-promise-make-its-vaccines