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Falling Walls Circle Table: Vaccine Distribution in Geopolitical Context

Falling Walls Foundation | Cliff Ransom, Kate O’Brien, Helga Barth, Tobias Kahler, Ilona Kickbusch

LIVE: Setting the Post-Corona-Agenda

Geopolitical issues have played a key role in the Covid-19 crisis, and especially so in the development and production of drugs and vaccines for the virus. One can be worried that these might become strategic assets.

 

The development of safe, effective vaccinations for Covid-19 is seen as necessary to fully and safely restore economic and social activity around the world. From a public health perspective, ensuring that all countries can get rapid access to a vaccine is essential to getting the pandemic under control, and ultimately saving lives. Not surprisingly, there are more than a hundred efforts to develop a vaccine under way globally.

 

But who will get the vaccine first? There are nearly eight billion people on the planet today.

 

Whoever wins the race of developing a vaccine will be obliged to address the politically delicate balance between enormous domestic demand and the need for equitable global access.

 

The experts participating in this Circle Table will:

 

  • Explore transnational tensions stemming from vaccine development and distribution
  • Discuss trends that aim to ensure global equitable access to Covid-19 drugs and vaccines
  • Outline issues concerning access to a vaccine, including: How can we determine who receives the vaccine first, and what special advantages accrue to the countries where a vaccine is developed?

Falling Walls Circle Tables will give the spotlight to world-leading scientists, science strategists and policy-makers from academia, business and politics discuss how we can apply science, research and innovation to get the world moving again.

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Cliff Ransom

Nature Research

Cliff Ransom is the Managing Editor, Global Partnerships and Custom Media at Springer Nature. A seasoned science journalist, he is the former editor-in-chief of Popular Science and has held editorial positions at National Geographic Adventure, Discover, and The Sciences. He holds a degree in biology and biochemistry, along with an M.B.A. He has spoken or led discussions at the World Economic Forum, SXSW, the Pioneers Festival, and the Kairos Summit, among others.

Kate O’Brien

WHO

Kate O’Brien is the Director of the Department of Immunization, Vaccines and Biologicals at the World Health Organization. Previously she was the Executive Director of the International Vaccine Access Center (IVAC), and Professor of International Health and Epidemiology, at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr O’Brien served on the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE) committee from 2012 to 2018. Prior to joining IVAC, she served as the Director of Infectious Disease in the Johns Hopkins Center for American Indian Health. She also served as an Epidemic Intelligence Officer, in the Respiratory Diseases Branch, at the CDC, Atlanta (USA).

Dr O’Brien earned her BSc in Chemistry from the University of Toronto (Canada), her MD (Medicinæ Doctorem) from McGill University, Montreal (Canada), and her Masters of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore (USA). She completed her paediatric and infectious disease clinical training at Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions, Baltimore (USA).

Helga Barth

German Federal Foreign Office

Helga Margarete Barth is currently Director for Human Rights, International Development, Health and Social Affairs, Coordinator for Sustainable Development at the Federal Foreign Office. One of her responsibilities is coordinating the foreign policy dimension of Global Health Issues at the Ministry. From 2015 to 2019 she was Minister (political) and Head of the Political Department at the German Embassy in Washington DC. She previously served as Senior Director for the Middle East, Asia, Latin America and Africa on Chancellor Merkel’s foreign policy team (2010-2015).

Her previouspostings with the Federal Foreign Office include two years as the Ministry’s Research Coordinator on the Policy Planning Staff(2008-2010), a posting as Political Counsellor in Ankara, Turkey (2005-2008), and two years at the Division for Turkish Affairs (2003-2005). She has also served as Deputy Consul General in Guangzhou (Canton), China, and as a political desk officer at the German Embassy in Tokyo.

Ms. Barth holds a Master’s Degree in Chinese Studies (Sinology) and German Literature from Tubingen University, Germany and did post graduate work at Cornell University’s Asia Department. She also attended the universities of Erlangen and Bonn as well as Shandong University in Jinan, China.

Tobias Kahler

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Tobias Kahler is the Head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Germany. He was also Director of ONE, a global movement campaigning to end extreme poverty and preventable disease by 2030. From 2004 to 2006 he worked as Managing Director at Helios Media (Quadriga), before that he was Editor-in-Chief at “politik & kommunikation”.

Tobias Kahler studied political science, international relations and economics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Freie Universität Berlin and London School of Economics. In 1999 he  worked at the Peace Research Institute Frankfurt, from 1999 to 2001 at the American Jewish Committee and in 2002 at the Berlin political agency in the areas of campaign, event management and public affairs.

Ilona Kickbusch

Global Health Centre, Graduate Institute Geneva

Professor Ilona Kickbusch is the founder and chair of the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva. Professor Kickbusch’s key interests relate to the political determinants of health, health in all policies and global health. She established the Global Health Centre at the Graduate Institute and in this context advises countries on their global health strategies and trains health specialists and diplomats in global health diplomacy. She is a member of the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board and the WHO High-Level Independent Commission on NCDs and is co-chair of UHC2030. She acts as council chair to the World Health Summit in Berlin. She has been involved in German Group of Seven and Group of Twenty activities relating to global health and chairs the international advisory board for the development of the German global health strategy. She publishes widely and serves on various commissions and boards. She initiated the @wgh300 list of women leaders in global health. She is program chair of the leaders in health network SCIANA. She is co-chair of a Lancet FT Commission on “Governing health futures 2030: growing up in a digital world.”

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