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Equitable Access Contracts: Building Blocks of a Future Global Vaccine Strategy

Introduction   Due to the major legal gaps revealed in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic, in December 2021, WHO member states decided to establish an intergovernmental negotiating body (INB) to negotiate a new agreement on pandemic preparedness and response. On 5-7 December 2022 the INB held its third meeting, at which a conceptual zero draft (hence force, “draft pandemic treaty”) was considered. Among the innovations introduced by the draft pandemic treaty, making vaccines fairly and equally available in high income and low and middle income countries (LMICs) is a central principle (Article 4) and obligation (Chapter 3). The purpose of this note is to highlight the importance of contracts in operationalizing this principle and obligation in practice. Of particular importance are two kinds of contracts: first, funding contracts between philanthropic organizations or governments and vaccine developers (“funding contracts”), and second, voluntary intellectual property (IP) licensing and technology transfer contracts (in short, “technology transfer contracts”) between vaccine developers and manufacturers in LMICs. Developing a coherent and…

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What Does the Monkeypox Outbreak Tell Us about Global Health Governance? Critical Remarks on the New WHO Declaration of Public Health Emergency of International Concern

On 23 July 2022, the Director-General of the World Health Organisation (“WHO”) declared that the outbreak of monkeypox constitutes a public health emergency of international concern (“PHEIC”). Under Art. 1 of the 2005 International Health Regulations (“IHRs”), a PHEIC means “an extraordinary event which is determined […] (i) to…

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The far-reaching US proposals to amend the International Health Regulations at the upcoming 75th World Health Assembly: A call for attention

The upcoming 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) to be held in Geneva from 22-28th May 2022 will potentially adopt far-reaching amendments to the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR). The IHR is currently the most important multilateral treaty regulating the global architecture for health emergency, preparedness, response and resilience (HEPR…

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Inadequate State Response to Protect Life and Health in Times of COVID-19 as a Violation of Human Rights Obligations – the Example of Poland

While the fourth wave of COVID-19 pandemics flows over Europe and other continents, States undertake different steps and measures aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus. Many countries and regions introduced the requirement of COVID certificates/passes, while some plan to implement mandatory vaccinations at least for certain occupations. These measures have spurred discussions of…

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Covid Passes and Non-Discrimination

Today the British Parliament will decide on whether England will follow other parts of the UK – and many other states – in requiring the use of Covid passes (passports, certificates) to access certain public venues and services. Public debates surrounding the introduction of such passes frequently turn on their real or supposed discriminatory effects. It is black…

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