Vaccine appears to be something the governments are aiming to keep off from the risks of price gouging via brokers and other private intermediaries.The philosophical premise of this may be However considering that at the top of the PPE corruption chain, it was the Civil Serpents (whoops, sorry Servants).Speaking of serpents, they are honourable creatures, except some nasty pythons which tend to try swallowing whatever they can find, i.e. Alligators, Porcupines, Elephants.
Anyways here is my apology to Serpents.Here is a nice picture of a kingly, peaceful looking Serpent, the species of which is known as a King Cobra.
Ok, I know I can’t stop venting against the mass inequality of wealth and corruption everywhere.It is there to stay, as the ‘new normal’ as I see it and fear it.
Now, let’s come back to the legal challenges behind the recent Vaccine Race.Just for fun, let’s make a list.Let Law be the agent of accountability and change perhaps?
1: Freedom of information law-suits, refusal of governments to release data on the allergy caused by vaccines as well as the results of testing and the efficacy of each vaccine.
2.Corruption, transparency, wasteful public expenditure in the procurement and delivery of the vaccine.Costing and payments in public contracts between States.Who will find out what amounts of money left the public purse, especially in developing countries in Africa and other states in South-East Asia.Pakistan has (as predicted) decided to rely on its affluent brother state, China.So far governments are not giving out any details on costing and contracts signed so far.China’s vaccine still has the leverage on Pfizer and other vaccines in the sense that it can survive in temperatures like minus 3-4 degrees while temperatures over 90 degrees are needed for Pfizer.
3.Harmonization of Standards.Ok so the vaccine roll out will entail implementation of standards and training for cold chain management, vaccines and safe-injection equipment protocols, the law apply to Immunization safety , supportive local health , monitoring comprehensive annual national immunization plans post 2020, and finally holding governments accountable for effective disease surveillance work.
Therefore, the logistical stage would have the following pointers to it :
Legal standards for :
- Estimating vaccine and safe-injection equipment needs of the population and also their safe storage and the requisite storage capacity.
- Correct vaccine and safe-injection equipment needs based on target population.This area would be ripe for vaccine wastage and over-buying as well as corruption especially in developing countries.
- Adapting harmonized legal standards for changing cold-chain storage needs
- Planning distribution and transport of the said Vaccines
- Training the medical and military workers for the administration of these vaccines
- Collection of waste created during the roll-out, included dealing with damaged, expired LOTs
- Legal Responsibility and Liability for Temperature monitoring
- Using the VVM to monitor the quality of vaccine vials 4
- Reducing vaccine wastage
- Indicative wastage rates for vaccines from experience (WHO statistics included) and shake tests
- Are VVMs going to be a key factor to prevent failures during this Vaccine roll out?
- The legal basis of proper transportation cost of these vaccines, considering the varying temperatures of each brand in the market, requirements for dry ice, freezer bags, syringes and trained medical personnel.
4.New York’s novel law of allowing pharmacies to administer vaccines (for a quicker roll out).USA legislation (S. 8182-A / A. 10508-A) adds COVID-19 to the list of illnesses for which pharmacists can vaccinate,as US health authorities claim that pharmacies and pharmacists have the potential to play an irreplaceable role in vaccination campaigns.This could then be deemed as a public-private model at the logistical/delivery state.This model still has the risk of corruption and cronyism.
5. A key question which will arise in the UK/US/EU post 2020 litigation pertaining to unfair procurement awards for PPE (personal protective equipment) is the Doctrine of Necessity/State of Emergency etc.This is what most of the COVID19 PPE contracts issued by UK government for the now aptly labelled ‘VIP Channel’ stated in their Public Tenders.Surprisingly enough despite the ongoing judicial reviews, public protests and media awareness, these contracts are being continuously generated and awarded.
An extract from one of the post COVID19 PPE contracts, a standard Disclaimer on behalf of the UK government is copied below:
IV.1) Description (of Contract)
IV.1.1) Type of procedure
Award of a contract without prior publication of a call for competition in the Official Journal of the European Union
Justification for selected award procedure:
The procurement falls outside the scope of application of the Directive
Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed significant pressure on the global supply market in terms of a range of products including type IIR masks, and fluid resistant masks. COVID-19 is transmitted via small airborne droplets emitted by infected people when sneezing, coughing or talking. Therefore, a wide array of protective products designed to ensure protection are used such as face masks. As a consequence of the pace of the virus spread and following Government guidance, surgical masks must be used by all healthcare workings in an inpatient and social care clinical setting. This has significantly increased the day-to-day usage of the surgical masks.
To enable this rapid delivery, NWSSP Partnership would like to inform the market that under Regulation 32 (2) (c) of the Public Contracts Regulations 2015 (PCR’s) ______(Name of Vendor) were awarded a one off purchase of (Masks or any other PPE Item) to ensure continued quality supply.
In awarding this contract, the Health Board met all the tests under the PCR’s due to the immediate risk that COVID-19 posed to all NHS and social care personnel. In these exceptional circumstances, there was no time to run an accelerated procedure in line with PCR’s as immediate and continued pipeline of significant quantities was urgently required.
COVID-19 is a global emergency pandemic and the high volume of PPE required was not something that could have been predicted.
The above shows us an alarming change in the way governments have chosen to justify lack of partiality, which is the key reason Britain is now sitting on 3rd Grade PPE, bought in an engineered frenzy.
The question is, will this lack of transparency apply to the vaccine roll out too? What about the success rate of Vaccines, records of known reactions and allergies, impact of fertility and cognition.
The notion of a ‘greater Good’ being achieved or not, will perhaps be the focal point of some of the most profound and continuing legal debates for a long time.