Atlanta-based effort develops framework for equitable vaccine distribution
By Maria Saporta
As the number of COVID-19 cases is hitting record highs in the United States, an Atlanta-based initiative has developed an economic framework for the distribution of vaccines when they become available.
The Atlanta-based Center for Global Health Innovation (CHGI) has collaborated with Kirsten Axelsen and Rajini Jayasuriya of Boston-based Charles River Associates (CRA) to co-develop the economic framework for vaccine distribution to combat the global pandemic.
The Vaccine Economics and Equity Group (VEEG) is a partnership between CGHI and CRA that built the framework for decisionmakers to bridge the gap between health, health equity and economics. Its framework adds to the efforts by other global and public health experts to identify a strategy for the COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
“This report creates a new field for the academic and public health study of health economics,” said Dr. Russell Medford, chairman of CGHI. “It is imperative that we put this new field in motion in order to get society back to normal. This is how we must do it – by identifying socioeconomic disadvantages that impact the community.”
Maria Thacker Goethe, CGHI’s president and CEO, said the framework is part of the Global Health Crisis Coordination Center’s three-pronged vaccine project and will serve as a weapon for decisionmakers.
“It has direct economic impact, referencing key issues to address over coming months, and defining vaccine distribution strategies that can lead us towards a revolutionary new normal,” Goethe said.
A key focus for the vaccine framework will be the issue of equity – especially in particular sectors, such as caregivers
“It is therefore important that vaccines allocation frameworks prioritize those at highest risk of mortality and in the front line of health care provision, but also prioritizes economic activity, focusing on people in roles that require proximity, in roles that allow others to work, and in roles that create a significant number of jobs,” said Kirsten Axelsen, senior policy advisor at CRA. The report is:
The release of the report follows last week’s Georgia Bio Innovation Summit, which had panel discussions on how global health entities have successfully fought other pandemics in the past, and how best to prepare for the next pandemic.
“For too many years under multiple administrations, we have underfunded pandemic research on federal and state levels,” Dr. Medford said during on panel – describing the effort to combat the COVID-19 pandemic as a war. “We need to plan and prioritize at the same level we would militarily.”