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By Emily Bancroft, President, VillageReach
I never thought I’d be so excited by pictures of boxes being unloaded from airplanes. When I saw the photos come streaming across social media this week, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. The pallets being wheeled onto the tarmac meant that COVID-19 vaccines had arrived in Mozambique, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Côte d’Ivoire, Malawi and many other African countries. As government officials and partners began to unpack the containers, we all knew the hard work was just beginning.
Over the last year, as the scientific community quickly mobilized to develop, test and produce multiple effective vaccines, the focus for VillageReach has been protecting health workers and communities against the virus. As an organization dedicated to the delivery of vaccines, medicines, supplies and information, COVID-19 vaccine delivery has been constantly on our minds. We participated in the Country Readiness and Delivery working group of the vaccine pillar of the Access to COVID Tools Accelerator (ACT-A) to help link global-level plans with country efforts.
By Joanne Lu
When COVID-19 first made landfall in the U.S. last year, it made its grand entrance in Snohomish County, Washington, and eventually turned Seattle into the country’s “coronavirus capital” for some months. So, in a way, it’s only fitting that the institution at the center of the vaccine development campaign to end the pandemic is based in Seattle, as well.
By Andie Long
Nikolaj Gilbert joined PATH, a global public health organization headquartered in Seattle, in January of 2020 – just as the first cases of COVID-19 began appearing globally and shortly before the first U.S. cases were reported in Washington state. With little more than a year on the job, having immigrated to the United States from Denmark with his family and onboarded to PATH almost entirely virtually, the new CEO already has a strong vision for the future, one that challenges it to be an even better global partner.
PATH works locally, with national and sub-national health organizations around the world, as well as globally with partners like the World Health Organization, developing vaccines, devices, and tools that can reach people who would otherwise not have access. This expertise has been essential in light of the global pandemic, as many of the hardest hit communities navigate COVID-19 on top of other major health threats. Doing this well requires a strong set of institutional values that drive all of PATH’s work – and Gilbert is the right leader for the job.
In response to Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)’s submission of their COVID-19 vaccine for emergency approval from the US Food & Drug Administration, Niko Lusiani, Senior Advisor with Oxfam America, made the following statement:
“Scientists have yet again delivered hope in the war against the coronavirus. As a single-dose and lower-cost vaccine, the JNJ vaccine could deliver the necessary boost the world needs to save lives and rebuild our economy.
“Now it’s time for executives and policy makers to deliver a people’s vaccine that is mass produced around the world to ensure access to the greatest number of people in the shortest amount of time. JNJ can only produce the vaccine for less than 13 percent of the global population by the end of the year.