The COVAX Initiative and Equitable Global Vaccine Distribution

The successful development of COVID-19 vaccines is a scientific feat that promises to end the global pandemic and enable recovery from its health, economic, and social impacts. The sigh of relief is not felt worldwide, however. Historically, vulnerable populations, especially those living in low- and middle-income countries, have not fully or immediately benefitted from life-saving public health interventions. ‘Vaccine nationalism’ and a narrow view of health security as national security remain strong drivers of competition for the COVID-19 vaccines. The COVAX initiative, co-led by GAVI, the World Health Organization, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, is a global mechanism designed to respond to these challenges, foster international solidarity, and facilitate equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Our distinguished Roundtable Guests, Loyce Pace Global Health Council President and Executive Director, Dr. Jeremy Youde Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at the University of Minnesota Duluth, Dr. Jon Andrus, Adjunct Professor of Global Health at George Washington University, and Dr. Adam Jachimowicz researcher, teacher, and practitioner in the field of Emergency Management will discuss the promises and prospects of COVAX as well as the political, technical, and economic challenges to the successful implementation of its mission. What can we learn from the early roll-out of the vaccine? How should we determine vaccine prioritization and distribution schemes? What are the potential health, human, economic and political costs of uneven vaccination? What reforms must be implemented for future global health crises?

This event took place virtually on February 26, 2021 and was sponsored by the Humanitarian Action Initiative (HAI), housed in the George Washington University Elliott School of International Affairs.

Learn more about the Humanitarian Action Initiative at

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