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COVID-19 Vaccine Policy Dialogue 2020

20 November 2020
11:00 - 13:30

Conveners: Dr Palesa Sekhejane, Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) Dr Steven Mufamadi, Nabio Consulting (Pty)Ltd

Date: 20 November 2020

Time: 11h00-13h30

Register beforehand on Zoom

The programme and speaker bios are available for download below:

Please find below presentations available for download:

The SARS CoV-2 (Covid-19) pandemic has undoubtedly bore immense economic and social impacts that demanded the scientific innovations to address the broader consequential effects of the pandemic. The race to find a safe and effective vaccine for the novel Covid-19 has gained traction, with a number of countries reporting some progress to the World Health Organization (WHO) on the trials that point to potential vaccine candidates.

Prospecting for effective vaccine began in several research centers across countries, soon after the first genome sequence of SARS-CoV-2 was published. On March 16, 2020, the first COVID-19 vaccine candidate, an mRNA-based vaccine developed by Moderna Inc., entered a Phase 1 clinical trial (NCT04283461) in the US. Later, a non-replicating vector-based vaccine, developed by China’s CanSino Biologics was also tested in China (ChiCTR2000030906). While there has been various promises and claims of success, with some countries being more protective of their innovations, multiple strategies of manufacturing vaccines and their administrations are being developed to ensure safe protocols and accessibility of vaccine. South Africa and India has called for the global review of patent policies.

In the process of discovering potential vaccine securing trial participants pose great challenge due to historical malpractice on subjects, indicating possible vaccine hesitancy. A study conducted in Indonesia indicated that there is a high likelihood to accept a vaccine that could prove to be at least 95% effective; whereas in Pakistan high hesitance potential was reported. To safeguard themselves, several countries are contributing towards COVAX – a platform to accelerate equitable access to Covid-19 vaccine. This happens in the mist of uncertainty on the acceptance of vaccines that are likely to be discovered. In this regard, it is important to ensure that the conduct of countries and those who stand to benefit from the discovery of vaccine do not disadvantage efforts so far provided to fight the pandemic. Clear COVID 19 vaccine policy is thus imperative so as to ensure vaccine acceptance; regulatory environment; sustained Research & Development landscape as a way of combating Covid-19. Therefore, the seminar will explore possible challenges and constraints towards COVID-19 bio-inventions and vaccination as well as the bottlenecks in regulatory framework for COVID-19 vaccine R&D in the country.

The topics of discussions will include;

  • Should vaccine be compulsory and if not, what does this mean for  those who are anti-vaccines?
  • Historical challenge with access to vaccines – perspectives from pharmaceutical and health professionals
  • Regulatory framework challenges for R&D and country vaccinology.
  • WHO-Afro Vaccine roll-out/distribution strategy – country or regional perspectives