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A health worker gives a COVID-19 test to a woman in Oakland, California. Photo: Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group

The COVID-19 pandemic was a "preventable disaster" that exposed weak links "at every point" of the preparedness process, according to a World Health Organization-commissioned report published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The report by the Independent Panel for Pandemic Preparedness and Response criticized governments worldwide for being unprepared for the pandemic despite the prevalence of past "global health threats," such as Ebola, Zika, and SARS outbreaks.

The big picture: The report states that the world's response to the emergence of COVID-19 was "too slow" and "too meek," and that the WHO was "underpowered."

  • "Global political leadership was absent," it adds.
  • The report also says that February 2020 was a "lost month" when governments should have taken action to prevent the epidemic from developing into a pandemic.
  • "COVID-19 is the 21st century’s Chernobyl moment—not because a disease outbreak is like a nuclear accident, but because it has shown so clearly the gravity of the threat to our health and well-being."

To end the ongoing pandemic, the panel recommends that...

  • Richer countries provide "at least 1 billion" vaccine doses to poor and middle-income nations;
  • The World Trade Organization and WHO get vaccine-producing countries "to agree to voluntary licensing and technology transfer for COVID-19 vaccines";
  • Nations scale up the access of COVID-19 tests and therapeutics.

Go deeper

May 12, 2021 - Health

CDC panel endorses Pfizer vaccine for 12- to 15-year-olds

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

An advisory panel for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday endorsed the Pfizer-BioNTech coronavirus vaccine for 12-to 15-year-olds, following the FDA's emergency use authorization.

Why it matters: Approval from the CDC panel was the final step needed before inoculations could be offered at any vaccination site for this age group.

May 12, 2021 - Health

Novavax behind on manufacturing, dealing blow to global vaccination efforts

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

Novavax won't be able to get its COVID-19 vaccine authorized until July, and is also behind its manufacturing targets, the New York Times reports.

Why it matters: This is another big setback for the rest of the world, which is still desperate for doses that keep slipping farther out of reach.

May 12, 2021 - Sports

57% believe proof of vaccines should be required for sporting events

Data: Axios/Ipsos Poll; Note: 3.2% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

57% of U.S. adults believe proof of COVID-19 vaccination should be required to attend a sporting event, per the latest Axios-Ipsos survey. Coincidentally, 58% of American adults have received at least one shot, which President Biden hopes to increase to 70% by July 4.

What they're saying: The fully vaccinated NIAID director Anthony Fauci told CNN he "would not hesitate to go to an outdoor baseball game. My risk would be extremely low, particularly if I wear a mask."

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