Topic: 2023-Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention
Country: United States of America
Delegate Name: Jonah Mechtenberg-Berrigan
Model UN Position Paper
United States of America
WHO Pandemic Preparedness
Pandemic Preparedness is an issue becoming continually more essential as more time passes. As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic 2 years ago severely changed the world, killing millions and showing how truly unprepared many countries were for a major pandemic. As global warming, population growth, and urbanization continues, it is expected that more pandemics will take place. To be prepared for these pandemics, the UN needs to come together to discuss possible solutions or improvements for pandemic response systems. Goals and guidelines need to be set, and systems should be in place for early warning and response to pandemics.
During the COVID pandemic, there were over 771 million cases of COVID-19, and almost 7 million deaths attributed to the disease. When the disease began to spread in late December of 2019, global response was quick after the WHO was informed. Many countries, including the United States, began research around the disease. In early January of 2020, Chinese scientists in a Beijing university harvested the viral DNA of the Coronavirus. 5 days later, Chinese scientists made DNA sequences of the virus publicly available in the NIH Genbank (a U.S. based genetic bank that stores many amino acids for public use), allowing scientists of other countries to begin developing vaccines. The United States, and many other countries, began developing incident management structures and guidelines to move forward. Mid-January was the first lab-recorded case outside of China, and COVID was declared a pandemic by the WHO in March of 2020.
Stricter guidelines were placed as the situation continued to evolve, and it was mostly left up to individual countries to make laws and regulations around the virus, along with producing vaccines. The WHO helped to create a global organization to develop and distribute vaccines worldwide called the COVAX (COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility). Notably, the U.S. and China, 2 major producers of vaccines, were absent from COVAX. However, over 170 other nations joined. Although a vaccine was produced quickly in several countries, difficulties undercut usage. Some vaccines had to be stored in extremely cold temperatures, and needed to be transported far from factories. It could cause health difficulties for those vulnerable to COVID, including the young and the elderly.
However, vaccine production and implementation did begin. The European Union shared a vaccine, and the United States led the vaccination charge with almost a billion vaccines donated, majorly to lower income individuals in developing allies. Another issue quickly began to emerge: vaccine dissenters. 15% of United States citizens abstained from a COVID vaccine, and 45% admitted to not trusting the COVID vaccine. Although America does believe in the freedom to choose if the vaccine is administered, this statistic needs to be drastically reduced.
In the event of another pandemic, world countries must be prepared. The UN should put in place plans to shut down travel to reduce the spread of COVID. A research team to catalog genetic information of all potentially dangerous viruses should be created, and individual countries should make plans to deal with potential pandemics. Larger, production-oriented countries like the U.S. will likely lead the next charge to find a vaccine, but production systems and transport systems for vaccines should be reviewed and improved. The world is expecting another pandemic, and likely, will be ready for one.