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Concordia Action Alliance – Vaccine Coordination, Production & Distribution

Strategic Dialogue

Programming Partner: Concordia Action Alliance


  • Given the health, social, and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, several states and pharmaceutical companies quickly began a race to obtain a vaccine following its outbreak. According to Richard Meredith, this competitive approach has been a critical obstacle in the effort to overcome the pandemic. In many ways, the lack of recognition of COVID-19 by multilateral bodies as a global problem that requires a global plan has hindered progress. Meredith stressed the political need for leadership in the international arena, particularly around designing and implementing a global strategy. This, he explained, would ensure the safety of all states, especially the most vulnerable.
  • Reiterating the need for a global plan, Mario Cimoli stressed that structural and historical inequalities between regions must be addressed in order for such a plan to be effective. In the case of Latin America and the Caribbean, there are states that have the capabilities to produce the vaccine but, due to asymmetries in the global economy regarding trade, investment, and intellectual property agreements, it is difficult to put these capabilities into practice. Cimoli, therefore, called for multilateral efforts to correct these asymmetries.
  • Taking into consideration geographical, cultural, and socio-political differences, M. Rashad Massoud argued that coordinated global efforts should decentralize any global plan. The vaccination process should be tailored in order to effectively respond to local, national, and global needs. To that extent, coordinated efforts must instead focus on scaling up the number of individuals to be vaccinated; this can be achieved through the establishment of a social movement that generates trust in the vaccine through education and learning. 

“This is a global pandemic, and yes, I agree it requires a global plan. But a global plan is not one plan for the world, it is a coordinated global effort to rid us of the virus, and to do that we need to decentralize international plans and even within nations we need to also have local plans. Different countries will need different types of global plans based on their context,” M. Rashad Massoud

  • The private sector is key to alleviating the consequences of the pandemic. Ben Hubbard explained that the same level of inventiveness, investment, and urgency that has been put into the development of the vaccine by both private and public actors must be put into the task of distribution. In that sense, there must be multilateral efforts to address challenges in the vaccine supply chain, such as maintaining the correct temperature conditions, avoiding theft, and preventing fires. These efforts require an action framework and a real-time control system across different stages of the supply chain.
  • Misinformation has been one of the main obstacles in today’s global health and social crisis, with many people questioning whether they will even get the vaccine. As highlighted by Martha Delgado Peralta, in the case of Mexico, 10% of the population is not willing to be vaccinated (Meredith noted that this number is actually much lower than many other countries and reiterated the challenges that comprehensive inoculation would face globally). In this situation, Delgado argued for trust in science and institutions to be promoted and the spread of fake news to be limited. To combat misinformation, states and multilateral bodies have implemented different strategies. Hanne Dalmut stressed the importance of a collaborative information system that can provide data regarding the number of available vaccines and their accessibility, safety, and costs. Such a system is critical to enabling citizens to make informed decisions. 

“No one will be safe until everyone is safe,” Martha Delgado Peralta

  • Lower and middle-income states have been heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Without the capacity to produce vaccines, the alternative of international cooperation for its access may be indispensable. Hazel Laws shared that almost all Caribbean countries had signed onto the COVAX Facility because it seemed the safest way to ensure the provision of vaccines into the Caribbean region. The Caribbean Public Health Agency has played a critical role in detecting vaccine hesitancy in the region, and partnerships with the private sector will be important when it comes to storing the vaccines in suitable conditions. These actions and plans reflect the need for multilateral and bilateral efforts. 
  • In the midst of the pandemic, states and multilateral bodies have already projected a vaccination success rate for 2021. National plans that have been elaborated throughout 2020 have already prioritized resources and established roadmaps to follow. In this context, Germán Escobar expounded that Colombia’s plan has been dynamic, responding to multilateralism and market conditions and prioritizing vulnerable populations. 
  • The conversation concluded with each panelist presenting an area where partnership would provide an essential service towards the rapid and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Key takeaways & next steps:

  • There is a need to create a collaborative, informative system through which citizens can be informed on accessibility, affordability, applicability, and—ultimately—the safety of vaccination.
  • Health campaigning methodologies can help exchange best practices in public health campaigns and reduce reluctance around vaccination.
  • It is important for Latin American and Caribbean states to consolidate purchases and prices for the vaccine and other medicines, as well as insurances and reinsurances for its distribution.


Session Speakers