On June 4, at 13:00 Moscow time (GMT+3), the Valdai Discussion Club will hold an online discussion titled “The COVID-19 Vaccine: The Public Domain or Is Everyone for Himself? International Cooperation in the Pandemic Era”, with the participation of Anna Popova, Chief State Sanitary Physician, head of the Russian Federal Service for Surveillance on Consumer Rights Protection and Human Wellbeing (Rospotrebnadzor).
The coronavirus pandemic knows no borders, and has become a prime example of international cooperation: assistance programmes for the most-affected countries, humanitarian supplies of protective equipment, and the sending of specialists. The delivery of humanitarian aid to the United States along with the operation of the Ministry of Defence in Italy became the most visible examples of Russian support for other states during the pandemic. Although it had less media coverage, Moscow has offered significant assistance to almost all CIS members.
During a crisis, an important role is played by the interaction of scientists and doctors. It was the constant exchange of information between the scientific and professional communities, as well as an unprecedented level of data openness, that made it possible to quickly develop a virus containment mechanism, which included restrictive lockdown measures (sharing experience is also necessary when implementing them), and allowed scientists to begin developing a vaccine. However, the yet-to-be developed vaccine to the virus immediately became a subject of controversy.
The statement of the Élysée Palace that “the COVID-19 vaccine should be a global public domain, that is, excluded from market laws, and not be the property of any one country”, should be “accessible everywhere, for all and at the same time” is indicative. This is how the French authorities reacted to the statement made by the head of the Sanofi pharmaceutical company, Paul Hudson, that the United States was likely to have priority in supplying the future coronavirus vaccine due to American funding for the related research work conducted by Sanofi.
In April, the UN General Assembly proposed that the future vaccine must be considered public domain. The Government of the Russian Federation has proposed to implement general access to the vaccine, citing the Agreement on trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights under the WTO. This agreement gives WTO countries the right to contact other members of the organisation for help in providing the state with medicine, which will allow Russia to organise the production of medicine for delivery abroad at an affordable price in order to combat epidemics.
Will the vaccine be a common good that everyone has access to? What might a mechanism to fight the virus look like with the involvement of international intergovernmental organisations, international and national NGOs, and professional communities? Has the current pandemic identified the need to rethink approaches to international healthcare? What was gained from the experience combating Ebola, Zika virus and other threats that have recently threatened humanity? The discussion’s participants will answer these and other questions.
- Hans Kluge, Director, WHO Regional Office for Europe;
- Esperanza Martinez, Head of Health for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC);
- Anna Popova, Head of Rospotrebnadzor, Chief State Sanitary Physician of Russia;
- Fabio Squillante, Director General of the Italian news agency Nova.
Working languages: Russian, English
- Andrey Bystritskiy, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club
Attention to the media! You can participate remotely with prior accreditation. To do this, you need to fill out the accreditation form on our website and indicate your personal mobile number with the WhatsApp application installed.
For readers: A link to the live broadcast of the meeting will be posted on all social media of the Valdai Club, including Telegram, Facebook, Vkontakte, Twitter, Instagram. In addition, you can follow the discussion in our Telegram channel: a text broadcast will be available.
You can ask the speakers a question by sending it before the broadcast or live to [email protected], on WhatsApp to the number: +79269307763 or by sending it in a personal message to one of our social media.
Be sure to include your name and position, as well as the name of the speaker to whom the question is addressed. Questions will be asked during the Q&A session.