Global COVID-19 Response

Global COVID-19 Response

Global COVID-19 Response

Global ResponseCOVID Response—The Path Forward for Global Equitable Access to Vaccines and Vaccination


September 2021

In a new letter signed by Covid Collaborative and endorsed by Duke-Margolis Center Director Mark McClellan and Core Faculty member Krishna Udayakumer, the group commended the Biden-Harris Administration for its leadership in hosting the Global COVID-19 Summit and in building global commitments for a series of mitigation targets and other proven public health measures.  Read the full letter, more about the targets and the importance of implementing these measures as soon as possible.


Since the Framework For a Global Action Plan for COVID-19 Response was released in August, 20 health leaders and 61 organizations have signed on in support.    

A coalition of 80 global leaders, including Center Director Mark McClellan and Core Faculty member Krishna Udayakumer, along side over 25 organizations across corporate, philanthropic, civil society, advocacy, academic, and health sectors today called on world leaders attending the United Nations General Assembly this month to convene a global summit to ignite an urgent global action plan to end the pandemic.

“We need a comprehensive response to the current crisis, which will also strengthen health systems and preparedness for the next pandemic. We are in a race against time. Without immediate action, there will be millions more infections and deaths, and new variants could emerge and pierce vaccine immunity,” the statement said.  Read the full statement here.


August 2021


Director Mark McClellan and Core Faculty member Krishna Udayakumer joined 15 other health leaders and 22 organizations in support of new Framework For a Global Action Plan for COVID-19 Response. The Framework contends that “a coordinated, global response, the only possible successful response to the pandemic, must be grounded in equity at all levels–global, regional, national, subnational and community “ and urges that “an ‘all hands on deck’ crisis response must deploy all available resources and capabilities – multilateral and bilateral, public and private sector.” The authors and signators underscore the urgent need for a Global Pandemic Response and Vaccination Summit next month.  

In an open letter to the Biden-Harris Administration, and an accompanying US Emergency Plan for Global COVID-19 Relief, Director Mark McClellan and Core Faculty Member Krishna Udayakumar joined more than a dozen health policy and global health leaders calling on President Biden to take urgent action to end the pandemic around the world and accelerate US recovery and security. 

Citing “an exceedingly perilous and urgent moment in the COVID-19 pandemic,” the expert group cautions that the only way to prevent further catastrophe is to dramatically decrease cases and slow transmission of the virus through widespread global vaccination, combined with other public health measures.

Fortunately, the supply of high-quality vaccines produced by US and allied manufacturers is projected to exceed 7 billion doses in 2021 and 14 billion doses in 2022 – more than enough to protect Americans and vaccinate the world. But doing so will require “a global plan of attack” with coordinated action to finance, allocate, and deliver doses where they are most acutely needed.  The expert group calls on President Biden to:

  • Host a presidential-level “Global Vaccination Summit” before the UN General Assembly;
  • Rally global leaders to commit to the goal of vaccinating 70 percent of the world’s population by mid-2022; and
  • Launch a US Emergency Plan for Global COVID-19 Relief to help achieve that goal.


July 2021

Director Mark McClellan and Core Faculty Member Krishna Udayakumar co-authored an op/ed in The Hill, “Beyond ample supply, hurdles abound in the race to vaccinate the globe,” which cautioned that accelerating vaccine production alone is not enough to contain the pandemic globally. The authors call for a US Emergency Plan for COVID Relief that would work with the countries with the highest burden of disease and the lowest vaccination rates in Latin America, South and Southeast Asia, and Africa. This initiative could drive similar efforts by G7 and EU countries—and demonstrate US global leadership—by ensuring that vaccine pledges translate into life-saving vaccinations.

“In the coming months, as vaccine availability rises, vaccine delivery capabilities and vaccine hesitancy will become the critical bottlenecks to vaccinations in most countries,” they note.


June 2021

Duke-Margolis, Duke’s Center for Global Development, and the Center for Strategic & International Studies, together the COVID Collaborative, published, “Open Letter to G7 Leaders: A G7 Action Plan to Ensure the World is Vaccinated Quickly and Equitably,” urging G7 leaders to share one billion to two billion vaccine doses to low- and middle-income countries by the end of 2021. The leaders emphasized the urgent need to help countries distribute and deliver vaccines quickly and equitably across their populations, striving to achieve at least 60 percent, and ideally 70 percent, vaccination coverage in every country in 2022. With the endorsement of renowned global health experts, the coalition calls for and details a five-step G7 Action Plan “to assure the fastest possible path to access billions of doses of high-quality vaccines and ensure local capacity to deliver them.”


May 2021

Twelve leaders in global health policy have issued an open letter calling for urgent, high-level US leadership to address the escalating global vaccine crisis. The Open Letter to the Biden Administration and US Congress Calling for Urgent High-Level Leadership to Address Escalating Global COVID-19 Vaccine Crisis calls for immediate action in five specific areas:

  1. Designate a clear leader to coordinate the US global response, leading to a robust and sustainable global strategy;
  2. Share vaccine doses now at the maximum amount feasible, while preparing for future needs;
  3. Strengthen and expand the manufacturing capacity for US-authorized and supported vaccines;
  4. Support distribution and delivery infrastructure, especially for low-income countries; and
  5. Commit to leading development and implementation of a comprehensive, sustainable, 5-year plan for long-term scale-up of global vaccine manufacturing capacity.

These steps will help mitigate death and suffering in the short term, chart a sustained exit from the COVID-19 pandemic in the medium term, and insure against another global pandemic in the long term.

Duke-Margolis Core Faculty Member Krishna Udayakumar joined Duke colleagues for a Duke media briefing, “What India’s COVID Crisis Means for the World.” Listen to the briefing. Krishna also co-authored an opinion piece in the MIT Technology Review, “What India need to get through its covid crisis,” which discusses how combating India’s COVID surge will require aggressive public health measures, emergency aid, and a major global ramp-up of vaccine production. Read the full piece here.