In our digital GP Salon at the beginning of March, we discussed the challenge of a comprehensive global supply of safe and at the same time affordable vaccines. This requires bold political decisions, smart solutions from business and the coordination of diverse actors and processes through international organisations.
Here you can find a 10-minute summary of our salon with the most important statements of our outstanding panellists (in German):
State Secretary Dr Flachsbarth sees Germany as a signatory state of the 2030 Agenda with a humanitarian responsibility in vaccine distribution, but also emphasises that a functioning global economy is of the highest national interest. “We depend on there being a free exchange of people, goods and services and a restoration of supply chains. All this will only happen once we have defeated the pandemic. Not just in Germany, not just in Europe, not just in the northern part of the hemisphere, but ultimately globally.”
UN Secretary-General António Guterres calls for the vaccine to be accessible to all as a global public good. Since a vaccine has been available, there have often been calls for a relaxation of patent protection to this end. Dr Wicklandt warns: “It is a highly complex process.” Moreover, patents can also act as a catalyst for new innovations.
Our panellists agree that we should rather focus on local capacity building. In any case, the infrastructure must be expanded and the cooling of the vaccines during transport and storage must be ensured. DHL is currently building medical supply chains to distribute more than ten billion vaccine doses from hubs around the world. Amadou Diallo emphasises, “It’s not about making a “penny” from distributing vaccines, it’s about connecting people and saving lives.” In doing so, he says, one must vary between large-scale and smaller, local solutions.
Dr Flachsbarth and Dr Wicklandt emphasise that trust in the vaccine is the key. For this, cooperation with local councils and local administrations is indispensable.
In order to better prepare for the next pandemic, the common health of humans, animals and the environment must be better considered, says Dr Flachsbarth. “Only in a healthy environment with healthy animals will we have healthy people.”
Both through the Ebola crisis in 2014 and the long-standing fight against the lung disease tuberculosis, stand-off and infection control are not new concepts for the population in many African countries. Africa is not a defenceless victim, but has developed successful strategies to deal with diseases and epidemics. Europe can still learn a lot here.
Amadou Diallo, Chief Executive Officer, DHL Global Forwarding, Middle East & Africa, reported at our GP Salon from his home village in Senegal, 732 kilometres from Dakar. There, 4,000 people have already been vaccinated.
Besides the few trained nurses, so-called “Aunties” support the vaccination campaign. They are not trained nurses, but are specially trained in vaccination. This offers the advantage of not being limited to the physical infrastructure of the hospitals and “magnifies the number of people who can vaccinate and the number of people who can inform about the vaccine”, says Amadou Diallo.
The “Aunties” are often trusted members of the public. As advocates for vaccination, this can also increase trust in the vaccine among the population, better than Facebook and television can.
Silvia Mayr, Project Management