AMA policy: Equitable distribution of resources needed to fight COVID-19

The American Medical Association is advocating equitable resource distribution of vaccinations to assist low-income countries.

By all accounts, the US is doing pretty well in its battle against COVID-19, with some states boasting more than 70% of its citizens vaccinated.

However, the rest of the world has not achieved that level of success, and because the US is not an island unto itself, the American Medical Association (AMA) is advocating equitable resource distribution of vaccinations to assist low-income countries.

The COVID-19 delta variant is spreading rapidly in the US and elsewhere. This can result in additional surges of infections especially among populations that do not have ready access to vaccinations.

On June 14, the AMA House of Delegates adopted a policy that promotes equitable resource distribution worldwide to combat the virus.

The association will look to COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) to establish aid for countries that have limited means financially and technologically.

The COVAX is an initiative that is directed by the World Health Organization, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations, and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

The AMA explained that its new policy urges “specific steps to bolster production and distribution of therapeutics and vaccines necessary to combat COVID-19.”

“The steps include a temporary waiver of the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property agreement and other relevant property protections; technological transfers relevant for vaccine production; and other support, financial and otherwise, necessary to scale up global vaccine manufacturing,” the association said in a statement.

Other initiatives mentioned in the new policy stipulate that the AMA by working with government and regulatory bodies will encourage prioritization of equity when distributing pandemic-related resources, such as diagnostics, low-cost or free medications, therapeutics, vaccines, raw materials for vaccine production, and personal protective equipment.

Bobby Mukkamala, MD, AMA Board chairman elect, emphasized that doctors and numerous organizations worldwide are combating the virus in countries with meager financial resources, limited supplies and overtaxed hospitals.

“The situation is dire, giving rise to new, more transmissible, more dangerous variants, and global cooperation to ensure equitable distribution of resources is essential to defeating COVID-19,” he said in a statement. “The situation may seem to be getting better here, but in a global pandemic, threats abroad can quickly become threats in the United States and set us all back.”

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