CIDT supports DSA on the need to support a global distribution of the Covax vaccine

26 January 2021
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CIDT is among a group of academic and research members of the Development Studies Association (DSA) that is urging the government to do more for low-income countries regarding the development and distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations.

The DSA have called for three steps:

  • Finance vaccine distribution in low-income countries and support distribution to the most critical groups
  • Promote the expansion of vaccine production capabilities in the global South
  • Distribute a significant proportion of the UK supply of vaccines to low-income countries

The full DSA statement can be seen below and is available on the DSA website.

CIDT has been supporting partners in the Congo Basin to provide COVID-19 outreach and support for vulnerable and indigenous communities, and sharing experience through webinars on COVID-19 and the forest sector. A recent report from this work gives recommendations for Governments, which echo the recommendations from the DSA:

  • As vaccines are developed and approved, vaccine nationalism is likely to emerge. Promote support to Congo Basin governments to access and distribute vaccines to their communities, including specific emphasis on vulnerable forest dependent communities.
  • In the face of global GDP declines, maintain or increase international development aid commitments to ensure that health, environmental and other global climate objectives are kept on track.

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The British government’s contradictory approach to the global distribution of coronavirus vaccines risks undermining the impressive contribution that UK science has made to tackling the pandemic. Whilst the UK is currently the most generous funder of Covax and the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine will be made available at-cost in the global South, we have joined other wealthy countries in hoarding large amounts of available vaccines. This directly limits supply to more vulnerable people in low-income countries and is both morally wrong and strategically short-sighted. The pandemic must be tackled everywhere for UK citizens to be truly safe and becoming ‘Global Britain’ requires us to ensure that the fruits of our scientific prowess serve for the benefit of all. This is a case in which ethical demands coincide with our national interest.

We urge the UK government to take the following three steps: first, to generously finance vaccine distribution in low-income countries and support distribution to the most critical groups in ways that strengthens health systems for the long term; second, to promote the expansion of production capabilities in the global South, so that more firms can produce vaccines for this and for future pandemics; and, third, to distribute a significant proportion of our current supply of vaccines to low-income countries.

While the UK has been impacted hard by the pandemic, we remain a world leader in global health and global development research. This excellence now needs to be aligned to a vision and form of political leadership that prioritises a more cooperative approach to tackling the challenge of global vaccine supply and delivery.

On behalf of the Development Studies Association and the following centres of development studies:

Prof Sam Hickey, DSA President, Global Development Institute, University of Manchester
Prof Melissa Leach, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex
Prof Diego Sánchez-Ancochea, Oxford Department of International Development, University of Oxford
Prof Uma Kambhampati, DSA Secretary, Department of Economics, University of Reading
Prof Kathryn Hochstetler, Department of International Development, London School of Economics
Prof Michael Walls, The Bartlett Development Planning Unit, University College London
Prof Zoe Marriage, Department of Development Studies, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Dr Elisa Van Waeyenberge & Dr Hannah Bargawi, Economics Department, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
Dr Jonathan Fisher, International Development Department, University of Birmingham
Prof PB Anand, Peace Studies and International Development, University of Bradford
Prof Jean Grugel, Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre, University of York
Prof Philip N. Dearden, Centre for International Development and Training, University of Wolverhampton
Prof Laura Camfield, School of International Development, University of East Anglia
Prof Alfredo Saad-Filho, Department of International Development, King’s College London
Dr Grace Carswell, Head of International Development, University of Sussex
Dr Shailaja Fennel, Centre for Development Studies, University of Cambridge
Prof Frances Stewart, Emeritus University of Oxford and ex-President of the DSA