Getting Vaccines to the World Next Time

In January 2020, three men in a bar in Davos, Switzerland, first sketched a plan to vaccinate the world against Covid-19 on a napkin.

It was an act of desperation. News had just broken of a fast-spreading outbreak of a novel coronavirus in Wuhan, China. There was no global entity with the mandate or money to develop and manufacture a vaccine available to every nation, and the most recent precedent wasn’t encouraging. In 2009, researchers developed a vaccine against the H1N1 influenza virus in just seven months, but wealthy nations bought virtually all the supplies. The World Health Organization was only able to provide 78 million donated doses to 77 countries, months after the vaccine was first authorized. The pandemic took the lives of 284,000 people.

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