The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Initiatives (CEPI) and its partners, the World Health Organization (WHO) and Gavi, are leading the international effort on COVID-19 vaccine development. As a global superpower, the U.S. should rightfully be a member of the coalition. Joining CEPI would benefit the U.S. by serving as a hedge on development of vaccines for COVID-19 and other future epidemic threats, and benefit the global community insofar as the U.S. could provide much-needed financial and political support for CEPI’s work.
Given the mid-November 2020 announcements of positive phase 3 clinical trial results from vaccine candidates being developed by both Pfizer (in conjunction with BioNTech) and Moderna Therapeutics, it’s no longer necessary for the U.S. to even consider joining CEPI. Rather than wasting time debating whether to join CEPI, federal lawmakers’ and U.S. health officials’ time would be better spent negotiating directly with vaccine manufacturers of soon-to-be-approved vaccines to ensure that patients both in and beyond the U.S. have equitable access to their products.