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Vaccine equity: the defining challenge of our times

COVID-19 has had a huge impact across the world. Over the past twelve months it has become clear that we need to use all legal and public health tools available to get vaccines to those who need them most as swiftly as we can.

Some, however, suggest that limited vaccine supplies are being allocated based on wealth and geography, rather than by science, public health, or human need. The issues of vaccine distribution and “vaccine nationalism" are substantial and highly controversial.

On Friday 7 May 2021 Dr Peter Singer, Special Advisor to the Director General and Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization, spoke about vaccine equity in an event co-hosted with the Global Health Security Network's Director Assistant Professor Adam Kamradt-Scott, the Australian National University College of Law's Dr Dilan Thampapillai, the Intellectual Forum at Jesus College, the University of Cambridge ThinkLab, and Cambridge Public Health.

This talk and Q&A is now available to watch online.

More about the speaker:

Dr Peter Singer is Special Advisor to the Director General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, and Assistant Director General of the World Health Organization. He supports the Director General to transform WHO into an Organization sharply focused on impact at the country level. Dr Singer co-chaired the transition team; was the architect of WHO’s strategy and its “triple billion” target; supports colleagues to guide consistent strategy implementation of WHO’s programme budget, results framework, delivery stock-takes, investment case, and innovation strategy; and provides leadership to the Global Action Plan for Healthy Lives and Wellbeing to strengthen collaboration among 13 multilateral agencies to accelerate the health-related Sustainable Development Goals.

Before joining WHO, Dr. Peter Singer co-founded two innovative, results driven, social impact organizations. From 2008-2018 Singer was Chief Executive Officer of Grand Challenges Canada. From 1996-2006 he was Sun Life Financial Chair and Director of the University of Toronto Joint Centre for Bioethics. He is also Professor of Medicine at University of Toronto. Dr. Singer received the Michael Smith Prize as Canada's Health Researcher of the Year in Population Health and Health Services in 2007. In 2011, Singer was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada for his contributions to health research and bioethics, and for his dedication to improving the health of people in developing countries. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (where he was Foreign Secretary), U.S. National Academy of Medicine, and The Academy of Sciences for the Developing World (TWAS).

As a researcher, Dr. Singer published over 300 articles, received over $50 million in research grants, and mentored hundreds of students. He studied internal medicine at University of Toronto, medical ethics at University of Chicago, public health at Yale University, and management at Harvard Business School. He served his community as Board Chair of Branksome Hall, an internationally minded school for girls.

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