Combating the Virus of Vaccine Nationalism

Fatima Hassan, Tahir Amin, and Leena Menghaney at the 2021 Skoll World Forum

This year’s Skoll World Forum focused on the theme of “Closing the Distance” — examining local and global divides and ways in which we can all work together to build bridges to close the distance between the world’s toughest challenges and the groundbreaking solutions that aim to build a better future for all.

As part of the virtual conference, I-MAK Co-founder Tahir Amin moderated the panel “Using the COVID Crisis to Build a More Just Medicine System.” He was joined by Fatima Hassan, Founder of the Health Justice Initiative; and Leena Menghaney, Global IP Advisor at Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders).

It was a thoughtful, somber, and unflinching conversation on the lack of equitable vaccine access at the hands of the free market. You can watch the full panel here, and we’ve summarized some key takeaways as well:

So much power has been handed over in the past few decades to private actors that it’s going to take us a long time to claw back what we lost in the last year — not only lives lost, but how democracy itself should function.

Each day that passes without sharing information shows us that the market is more important than human lives.

We are operating under a system in which we’ve socialized the risk and privatized the profits.

Priti Krishtel and Tahir Amin are the co-founders and co-executive directors of the Initiative for Medicines, Access & Knowledge (I-MAK), a nonprofit organization working to address structural inequities in how medicines are developed and distributed.

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I-MAK

A team of lawyers, scientists, and health experts challenging systemic injustice and advocating for health equity in drug development and access.