Dr. Zeke Emanuel, a member of projected presidential winner Joe Biden’s pandemic advisory board, believes the government should follow a vaccine distribution model that prioritizes global inoculation over “vaccine nationalism.”
Emanuel is one of ten doctors on Biden’s team of public health experts that have been tapped to develop the current president-elect’s national Covid-19 strategy. He previously served under the Obama administration as one of the chief developers of the Affordable Care Act.
The oncologist was the lead author of the “Fair Priority Model,” which advocates for world governments to practice ethical global vaccine distribution by providing other countries with a supply, before completely inoculating their own country’s population.
The Trump administration has indicated they would follow what the model refers to as “vaccine nationalism.” Health and Human Services Secretary, Alex Azar, said that the government’s first priority was to produce enough FDA approved vaccines to treat the nation.
“But we anticipate having [a] capacity that, once those needs are satisfied, those products would be available in the world community according to fair and equitable distributions that we would consult in the international community on,” he announced in August.
The Trump administration’s $10 billion Operation Warp Speed aims to deliver 300 million doses of a “safe and effective vaccine” to the American public beginning in January 2021. Pfizer, who announced its phase three vaccine’s 90% efficacy rate on Monday, is set to distribute 100 million doses nationwide upon FDA approval.
Emanuel, who is the chair of the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health, asserts that the “absolute priority” of a nation’s citizens is unethical in the paper he co-authored. While the model allows for some “national partiality,” once herd immunity is reached, it asserts that the government has “crossborder responsibilities” to the counties which have not.
Biden’s website labels Operation Warp Speed as a “Trump Fiasco,” that lacks “global vision.” Under “The Biden Plan,” the manufacturing and distribution of a vaccine would “accelerate a global approach” that includes restoring the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization to “coordinate a global response” to the coronavirus.
The “Plan to Beat Covid-19” does not mention prioritizing the nation’s citizens, but does state that it will take the steps to “guarantee the fair distribution of all vaccines.”