The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) a pandemic on 11 March 2020. Since then, the pandemic continues to rage, and morbidity and mortality rates continue to climb globally. This illuminates the urgency of developing and ensuring access to affordable, safe and efficacious vaccines, and their rapid and fair deployment. The positive results announced by a number of vaccine candidates in November 2020 have led to vaccines being approved at record speed in different parts of the world.
A critical response will be required by governments to ensure access of their populations to safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines. Many governments have indicated that they aim to set up COVID-19 vaccine programmes that will cover their entire populations. The scale and complexity of the allocation, distribution and prioritization of the vaccines is therefore unprecedented. This also presents corruption risks that may threaten vital public health goals.
In this policy paper, the United Nations Convention against Corruption provides a solid global framework for the efforts that may mitigate anticipated corruption risks in the process of vaccination worldwide.