The Lessons of the COVID-19 Pandemic: Global Cooperation and Equitable Immunization

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The Lessons We Should Learn From the Pandemic

The Power of Collaboration

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us valuable lessons, two of which stand out and could help us prepare for future crises. When all global players work together in a shared and coordinated way, with the same mission, the results can be spectacular. We would not have achieved COVID-19 vaccines in record time if scientific groups had not cooperated and shared information, the private sector had not taken risks with innovation and investment, and if the public system had not advanced vaccine procurement with some advantageous clauses for the industry.

The Urgency of Global Immunization

We have yet to learn that an effective pandemic response requires global immunization, and access to vaccines cannot be as deeply unequal as during the last pandemic. Vaccines have become more than a decisive instrument of global health, but also an instrument of health diplomacy, exerting influence on countries such as China and Russia in regions of geopolitical interest, such as Latin America and Africa. We need to analyze the effectiveness of solidarity instruments, such as Covax, and sow a new immunization strategy for the future.

The Need for Widespread Immunization

The pandemic’s other big lesson in terms of global health is the widespread impact it had on immunization in different regions in 2020, by reducing access to health services and the scope of vaccination. According to UNICEF, “the number of children who did not receive even their first vaccinations increased in all regions.” This data raises strong alarm in the immunization of children against preventable childhood diseases.

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Spain Takes the Lead in Global Health

The Spanish Government has understood its role on the global health dashboard and has shared its vaccines with key regions, such as Latin America, in the midst of a pandemic. It has also resumed the firm commitment to the different multilateral health funds it undertook in 2006. Various world leaders, international organizations, experts, and civil society met in Madrid this week, convened by Gavi (Global Vaccination Alliance), to discuss its future strategy and increase efforts to better prepare the way to respond to upcoming crises.

The Future of Global Health

The Princess of Asturias Foundation recently awarded DNDI, an organization that encourages research and promotes the development of new treatments for neglected diseases. All of these efforts aim to improve global health, which is the best guarantee of a more equitable and geopolitically safer world, which we hope will continue to receive the attention and leading role of Spain regardless of the electoral result next July 23rd.

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