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Book description

The COVID-19 pandemic served as a powerful wake-up call, highlighting our collective need for the effective development and equitable distribution of new vaccines, in addition to widespread administration of existing ones. The current models of production and allocation of vaccines against emerging pathogens, which rely on predominantly market-driven mechanisms, are largely at odds with public health needs. This book is the first to explore the entire arc of vaccine development and distribution, from the decisions about allocation of vaccine R&D money to allocation and administration of vaccines resulting from the R&D process. It explains key concepts and problems in vaccine regulation, intellectual property, technology transfer, and international relations, making complex material accessible to a non-specialist audience. Analyzing the impact of COVID-19, the book also covers several other vaccine races, as well as future directions in vaccine development and allocation.


‘Vaccines as Technology - a timely book demonstrating that the battles over COVID vaccine nationalism and equity are not new but are rooted in the legal structure surrounding how vaccines are created, licensed, and sold. The book explores both the well-worn battle ground of intellectual property rights, but also focuses on the power of contract law to either extend or withhold equity in global vaccine distribution. Essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the broader legal and historical contexts behind the problems we face with COVID vaccine distribution.’

Kevin Outterson - Professor of Law and N. Neal Pike Scholar in Health and Disability Law, Boston University School of Law and Executive Director of CARB-X

‘This important book could not have come at a better time; it will be an invaluable resource for anyone interested in public health, innovation, and preparedness for emerging pathogens.’

Lindsay Wiley - Professor of Law, UCLA Law

‘Although vaccines prevent more deaths and misery than any other biomedical intervention, as a pharmaceutical product they are uniquely difficult to develop, produce and distribute. To protect the public health, vaccines must be inexpensive enough to protect billions yet efficient enough to be administered only a few times in a lifetime, rendering them less appealing to investors than expensive treatments for chronic illness. In addition, vaccines are difficult to make safely and are a hard sell to healthy people in the face of growing disinformation. Ana Santos Rutschman provides an extremely helpful, comprehensive and timely explanation of these paradoxical challenges, updated with the story of the Covid-19 vaccines and suggestions for paths toward more stability in the vaccine enterprise.’

Arthur Allen - Reporter and Editor, Kaiser Health News, Author, Vaccine: the controversial story of medicine’s greatest lifesaver (WW Norton); The Fantastic Laboratory of Dr. Weigl (WW Norton)

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