October update: The race for an equitable COVID-19 vaccine

The world is racing to find safe and effective vaccines against COVID-19, and world leaders are making deals for promising COVID-19 vaccine candidates and speaking about the need for vaccine equity. As this happens, we want them to know that we’re watching. That’s why in September, ONE launched the Vaccine Access Test.

The Test provides the framework to answer one question: Are the actions taken by world leaders and players moving us closer to or further from an equitable outcome for the COVID-19 pandemic? We measure this by assessing deals for vaccine candidates and actors on equity leadership. Each assessment is based on a variety of metrics: financial support for the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator (ACT-A), multilateral leadership, policies, and deals.

Since its September launch, there have been a number of updates. Here are the latest findings as of October 2020.

How scores have changed this month

Since the launch of the Vaccine Access Test, the following scores have changed as of October:

  • AstraZeneca has moved to the top spot of the Test.
  • Johnson & Johnson’s score has increased by 2.7 points.
  • The European Union’s score has increased by 1.7 points.
  • Australia’s score has decreased by 0.5 points.
  • Argentina, China, and Korea have all received 1 point each.
  • Four new deals were scored including: CSL Limited and Australia, the EU and Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer-BioNTech and New Zealand, and Canada and Medicago.

Find a summary of the Vaccine Access Test scores here.

Here’s a look at all the current scores

The latest findings

Over the past month, the Test has also deduced a number of findings regarding vaccine equity, including:

  • Bilateral deals might be the biggest hindrance to equitable vaccine access. A small group of wealthy countries have purchased over half of the expected supply of leading vaccine candidates through bilateral deals. Of the 34 deals made to date, 23 allowed countries involved to stockpile unnecessary volumes of vaccines and 27 did not provide sufficient transparency for us to score this metric. The same principles applied in multilateral agreements should be applied to bilateral ones, otherwise bilateral deals will become the biggest obstacle in achieving equitable vaccine access.
  • Multilateral leadership is separating the leaders from the laggards. A clear difference between countries and players that are advancing equity and those lagging behind is willingness to work across borders.
  • Some pharmaceutical companies are stepping up to the challenge on access, such as AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

Dive deeper into this month’s findings here.

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