Innogen researchers speak out about the value and fair diffusion of COVID-19 vaccines

21 January 2021

Innogen researchers have been featured in national and international media outlets addressing some of the questions that the vaccine roll-out has raised.

On the 7th of January, Innogen’s director, Theo Papaioannou, was invited to participate in a panel discussion with the former Minister of Education and Religious Affairs of Greece on the fair diffusion of COVID-19 vaccines and the need for parallel development of drugs to treat the symptoms of the disease. New treatments are especially important given that mass vaccination is unlikely to be achieved in low an-middle-income countries until 2022-2023. The event was organised by the Nicos Poulantzas Institute (NPI) in Athens and chaired by journalist Eugenia Hatzigeorgiou.

On the 18th January, Innogen associate Jack Scannell was interviewed as part of a COVID-19 vaccine special on Swedish TV‘s leading business affairs programme. He highlighted the remarkable cost effectiveness of COVID-19 vaccines versus other public health interventions, with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine being “cheaper than a Starbuck’s coffee.”. But the vaccines’ relative cheapness also means they have remarkably little effect on the economics of the drug industry as a whole; with COVID-19 vaccines probably selling a few tens of billions of dollars a year in a global drug market worth around 1,250 billion dollars a year.

In December, Innogen co-director Joyce Tait was interviewed for an article in the Independent on vaccine nationalism. As vaccines receive approval at different speeds in different countries, she warns that ‘political jockeying’ about the regulatory process could dent public trust. Inaccurate claims made by public figures can make people less accepting of the vaccine. Instead, politicians should be working to build trust in the science behind them.

As part of Innogen’s mission to support the delivery of responsible and innovative solutions for real world problems, its members are researching the public health responses to the pandemic in the UK and beyond. To get in touch, please email: sps-innogen@ed.ac.uk