Vaccinating the world against COVID-19 is one of mankind’s most critical non-wartime efforts ever. Many countries have developed ambitious, politically sensitive, and carefully sequenced vaccination plans, but executing them successfully will be a challenge. To succeed, policymakers should build three realistic assumptions into their vaccination planning for 2021 and beyond. First, delays are inevitable. By Swee Kheng Khor
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Results for Op-Ed Global Health
Wednesday 24 February 2021
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Friday 12 February 2021
We know many people are asking when vaccines will be available in Pacific countries. We anticipate that in 2021, demand will vastly exceed supply. But this doesn’t mean we should just sit and wait. PICs now need to focus on preparing, so they are ready when the first vaccines do arrive. This includes starting pre-registration for priority groups. It means making sure the systems are in place and working, for delivering vaccines and monitoring their safety and effectiveness. This requires investments to strengthen health systems, which will bring benefits beyond COVID-19. By Dr Takeshi Kasai.
Tuesday 26 January 2021
New York, USA
Just as political leaders like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro have forced a reckoning about the historical persistence of fascist politics, so have their disastrous responses to the COVID-19 pandemic renewed the relevance of the concept of genocide. How else are we to come to grips with so many culpably avoidable deaths? As in Brazil, Indigenous communities in the US have suffered disproportionately from the pandemic. By Federico Finchelstein and Jason Stanley.
Friday 23 October 2020
With the exception of decent New Zealand and arguably Australia, the rich, European ethnicity countries of the US Alliance have been involved in intentional Gerocide (mass killing of the elderly) in which their deliberate Covid-19 pandemic policies have resulted in “Covid-19 deaths per million of population” 10-180 times greater than in New Zealand (5). Expression of a deliberate intention to cause avoidable death of large numbers of people, and specifically of elderly people, would be unacceptable in politically correct Western democracies. But, unspoken and publicly unacknowledged, Gerocide is what has been happening in North America and Western Europe during the Covid-19 pandemic. By Dr Gideon Polya.
Saturday 17 October 2020
The announcement of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates should remind us of the many contributions basic science has made to contemporary life. With COVID-19 ravaging much of humanity, and the world anxiously awaiting a breakthrough that can end the pandemic, we can no longer take science for granted. And the global science community, for its part, has risen to the occasion in unprecedented ways, not only to develop vaccines, therapies, and diagnostics, but also to improve our understanding of the virus and the best strategies to protect ourselves. By Lars Heikensten, Marcia McNutt, and Johan Rockström.
Friday 9 October 2020
Health-care delivery in nearly every country has been disrupted by policymakers’ mistaken initial assumption that health systems would quickly win the fight against COVID-19. As the pandemic’s caseload and death toll are increasing daily, it is often stalling or reversing hard-won progress on minimizing the impact of other diseases, from diabetes to malaria. By Anatole Manzi.
Thursday 8 October 2020
New York, USA
Without a vaccine, COVID-19 won't "go away" through a strategy of herd immunity. Two scientific case studies have already confirmed that the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 can reinfect an individual and that our immunity to coronaviruses is alarmingly short-lived. I have previously called herd immunity a “reckless and ineffective strategy.” Now that COVID-19 reinfections are not just a possibility, but a reality, I would add “lethal” to my description. By William A. Haseltine
Monday 28 September 2020
Yes, our isolation has been a distinct advantage, but keeping Tonga COVID-19 free, comes with much hard work at the borders to keep it that way. World Environmental Health Day reminds us of the importance of public health intervention in preventing people becoming ill with COVID-19. We are preparing for the novel coronavirus to reach our shores. No country is immune. By Sela Akolo Fa'u, Viliami Tongamana and Denise Tully.
Friday 28 August 2020
Growing evidence shows that COVID-19 survivors can suffer from long-term health effects, not least heart-related complications. All countries with high rates of obesity should be considering programs encouraging weight loss, healthier eating, and physical activity. The more we can reduce the heart-related and other complications of COVID-19, the more lives we will save. By Ifeanyi M. Nsofor.
Wednesday 19 August 2020
By combining phones, Internet connectivity, and national IDs, a digital, demand-based social-protection system can be created to enable those in distress to seek support during crises. And it demonstrates how cash transfer programs can be deployed to counter the adverse socioeconomic consequences of external shocks, such as COVID-19. For Pakistan, this was a watershed moment in terms of government functioning. The crisis compelled the government to be more responsive, data-driven, experimental, and ambitious. At the same time in order for democracies to ensure progress, a culture of integrity and openness must be ingrained in government institutions and processes. By Sania Nishtar
Monday 10 August 2020
Many ethicists conclude that fully informed volunteers should be allowed to sign up for a potentially dangerous trial that will reduce the time required to bring an effective vaccine to everyone who could be exposed to SARS-CoV-2. The alternative is that the virus will continue to impose much higher levels of risk on other people, especially health care workers, older people, and people with underlying health conditions that reduce their chances of surviving infection. We should praise the young and healthy volunteers for risking their safety in order to save others. By Peter Singer and Isaac Martinez
Tuesday 28 July 2020
New York, USA
While ample resources – and high hopes – are being invested in the race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine, policymakers and the public should be preparing for a scenario in which no silver bullet is possible. But even in that case, writes renowned infectious disease expert William A. Haseltine, there are strong grounds to believe that we can control the virus and its spread.
Wednesday 22 July 2020
During the 2009 swine flu pandemic, a few countries cornered the vaccine market, leaving the vast majority of the global population with no vaccine at all until the outbreak was effectively over. This scenario must be avoided at all costs during the current crisis – and, thanks to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility, it can be. By Seth Berkley, Richard Hatchett, and Soumya Swaminathan.
Monday 20 July 2020
New York, USA
Even if one or more vaccines emerge that promise to make people less susceptible to COVID-19, the public-health problem will not be eliminated. But policymakers can avert some foreseeable problems by starting to address key questions about financing and distribution now. The toughest political question of all, though, is likely to concern access. Who should receive the initial doses of any vaccine? Who determines who is allowed into the queue and in what order? By Richard N. Haass
Wednesday 17 June 2020
London, United Kingdom
Governments cannot openly admit that the "controlled easing” of COVID-19 lockdowns in fact means controlled progress toward so-called herd immunity to the virus. Because there is currently no COVID-19 vaccine, governments have had to find other ways to prevent “excess deaths.” Most have opted for lockdowns, which remove entire populations from the path of the virus and thus deprive it of hosts. But this strategy has a terrible weakness: governments cannot keep their populations locked down until a vaccine arrives. Apart from anything else, the economic cost would be unthinkable. So, they have to ease the lockdown gradually. By Robert Skidelsky
Tuesday 7 April 2020
As government mandated lockdowns to combat the coronavirus pandemic affect a rising share of the global population, fewer will die of COVID-19, as well as other transmissible diseases. But how should we weigh those benefits against the costs of unemployment, social isolation, and widespread bankruptcies? By Peter Singer and Michael Plant.
Friday 3 April 2020
China's success in "flattening the curve" of the COVID-19 epidemic has been held up as a model for the rest of the world to emulate. But what the world really needs to understand is that "victory" required massive sacrifices by doctors, nurses, and other health workers whose names we will never know. The doctors and nurses on the front lines having lived through hell, see little to celebrate, much to mourn, and reason to remain fearful.
Tuesday 24 March 2020
As the coronavirus pandemic shuts down the world’s economies, stock markets plummet, and unemployment rises, policymakers will be forced to figure out how to contain the outbreak while preventing financial and economic collapse. Most economic proposals in developed countries focus on cash payments to people, deferred tax payments, and business bailouts. But biomedicine is critical to saving the economy ...a simple immunity test could tell us who doesn’t need to be taken out of economic circulation... and impede an economic Armageddon.- Mark Roe.
Saturday 14 March 2020
No one knows where or how fast a new virus will spread. We cannot calculate the risks with confidence, and we will know only in hindsight whether we overreacted or underreacted. Given this uncertainty, how we respond to a viral outbreak is as crucial as the nature of the pathogen. And how we respond to the COVID-19 coronavirus should be guided by what we have learned from past viral epidemics. - By Gerd Gigerenzer.
Monday 9 March 2020
New York, USA
Like climate change, the COVID-19 pandemic is a perfect example of why we need multilateralism in a globalized world. Rather than resorting to thinly veiled racism and isolationist policies, global leaders – particularly the United States – should have started organizing a collective response weeks ago. China’s experience with the virus in January and February is likely to be repeated in much of the rest of the world in March and April. We should be preparing intelligently...not succumbing to irrational panic. By Kevin Rudd.