International experts in economics and public affairs discuss vaccine nationalism: why do some countries cooperate and others go it alone? And what are the consequences?
The Covid-19 vaccination effort has become a key focus of government policy, as it is the tool through which we hope to exit regulated social distancing policies and return to normal economic and social life. There is much debate around whether governments should protect their citizens by securing vaccines first or if there are advantages to coordinating and planning the vaccine development process internationally.
In this event, Dr Flavio Toxvaerd will talk to Scott Barrett, Professor C. Jessica E. Metcalf, and Ramanan Laxminarayan about the challenges of ‘vaccine nationalism’ – the race among governments to secure Covid-19 vaccines for their own people despite the wider collective benefits of cooperation.
They’ll discuss the conflict between national interests and global outcomes that are both morally desirable and economically beneficial; difficult trade-offs facing policymakers; the importance of recognising the impact of individuals’ actions on others’ wellbeing and the need for coordinated public action, particularly in times of a deadly contagion; how people’s behaviour changes in response to protective measures such as mandated wearing of face masks; misperceptions about the extent to which lockdowns save lives; and suspending intellectual property protections on Covid-19 vaccines in the expectation that it will lead to scaled-up manufacturing and more jabs in arms sooner.
Join the debate to find out why some countries cooperate and others go it alone, and where do we go from here?
Scott Barrett is the Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics at Columbia University in New York City with appointments in the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) and the Earth Institute. He is also Vice Dean of SIPA. Scott is a leading scholar on transnational and global challenges, ranging from climate change to disease eradication. His research focuses on how institutions like customary law and treaties can be used to promote international cooperation.
Ramanan Laxminarayan is founder and director of the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics & Policy (CDDEP) in Washington, D.C. and New Delhi, and a senior research scholar at Princeton University. He is an affiliate professor at the University of Washington and a visiting professor at the University of Strathclyde in Scotland and at the University of Kwazulu Natal in South Africa. Ramanan chairs the board of GARDP, a global product development partnership created by the World Health Organization, that aims to develop and deliver new treatments for bacterial infections. He is the founder and board chair at HealthCubed, which works to improve access to healthcare and diagnostics worldwide. Since 1995, Raminen has worked to improve the understanding of antibiotic resistance as a problem of managing a shared global resource.
C. Jessica E. Metcalf is an Associate Professor in Ecology, Evolution & Public Affairs at Princeton University. She is a demographer with broad interests in evolutionary ecology, infectious disease dynamics and public policy. She works on an array of health questions, with a particular focus on vaccination policy, combining public health surveillance data with novel data sources including mobile phone call data records and mechanistic models of infectious disease spread to characterise the intersection between human demography, behaviour and infectious disease.
Dr Flavio Toxvaerd is a University Lecturer at the Faculty of Economics and Fellow of Clare College, University of Cambridge. He does research on the economics and policy of infectious diseases and epidemics, with an emphasis on issues such as voluntary social distancing and behaviour change, lockdowns, testing, mass vaccination and the coordination between economic policy and public health measured. He has acted as Senior Economic Advisor to the Independent Review on Antimicrobial Resistance and advised governments and international bodies regarding Covid-19 policy.