COVID-19 Vaccine Collaboration and the Future of Human Mobility

The need to fight against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has led to the closure of numerous international borders and the introduction of severe restrictions to mobility, even within countries. This necessary attempt to achieve social distancing must not hinder the global collective effort to find a way to treat the disease by creating a vaccine or impede the ensuing solidarity across countries.

We are currently unable to forecast how long the pandemic will last, but something is already crystal clear. The landscape of our world has changed in just a few weeks, and life after the pandemic will certainly be deeply different with respect to what we are all accustomed to. Humanity is confronted with a truly global challenge against which no country – irrespective of its level of income – can fully protect itself. This pandemic could thus trigger renewed and more intense international cooperation, something that has (so far) not happened with the other major global challenge that the world is currently facing, namely climate change. But the pandemic will also lead us to consider the increased horizontal fragmentation of global production chains and the lack of self-sufficiency even of high-income countries in some key sectors, such as the production of drug substances, from a different perspective.

The world might become more interconnected, or major chasms might divide countries and cause a sharp decline in international migration flows. Our hope is that international success in the fight against the current pandemic in the coming weeks or months will be able to reduce the risk of increasing barriers to human mobility in the years to come.

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