States, Pharmaceutical Companies, and COVID-19 Vaccine Access

This discussion will shed light on the legal considerations undergirding vaccine development and distribution. Current media coverage of the COVID-19 vaccine has focused on each country’s vaccine access plan without considering the human rights implications of business- and government-driven medical decisions. Our speakers will analyze why there is a Global North-South divide in vaccine obtention and storage, and why vaccines with different safety and efficacy profiles are being used on different populations. The speakers will further parse the reasons and consequences of hoarding and vaccine nationalism, as well as how governments and the public sector can help rapidly expand vaccine supply around the world. With a combination of academic and practitioner-based legal perspectives, the webinar promises to be an engaging dive into a deeply relevant topic to all listeners.

Michael A. Santoro (@BizEthicsProf) is Co-Founder and Co-Editor-in-Chief of the Business and Human Rights Journal and Co-Founder and the first President of the Global Business and Human Rights Scholars Association. Among his published books is the co-edited volume ‘Ethics in the Pharmaceutical Industry’ (Cambridge 2005). He is Professor of Management and Entrepreneurship at Santa Clara University in California, USA.

Robert Shanklin is a lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Santa Clara University. His teaching and publications include Chinese philosophy, business ethics, aesthetics, and philosophy of language. He has advised firms based in Silicon Valley and elsewhere on business ethics and China.

Zain Rizvi (@zainrizvi) is a law and policy researcher at Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer advocacy organization. He has written widely on pharmaceutical innovation and access to medicines, including issues related to the coronavirus pandemic. Zain obtained a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was student director of the Yale Global Health Justice Partnership.