New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Photo: Stephanie Keith/Getty Images

Eight world leaders called on the international community in a Washington Post op-ed Wednesday to ensure that people across the globe have equal access to a future vaccine for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Global demand for a successful vaccine is expected to skyrocket, which could send nations racing to obtain a supply while international organizations scramble to secure equitable access for all countries.

Authors:

  • Justin Trudeau, prime minister of Canada
  • Sahle-Work Zewde, president of Ethiopia
  • Moon Jae-in, president of the Republic of Korea
  • Jacinda Ardern, prime minister of New Zealand
  • Cyril Ramaphosa, president of South Africa (also chairperson of the African Union)
  • Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón, prime minister of Spain
  • Stefan Lofven, prime minister of Sweden
  • Elyes Fakhfakh, prime minister of the Republic of Tunisia

What they're saying: "While global cooperation in terms of resources, expertise and experiences is paramount for developing a vaccine, manufacturing and distributing it while leaving no one behind will truly put global cooperation to the test," the world leaders wrote.

  • "Therefore, we must urgently ensure that vaccines will be distributed according to a set of transparent, equitable and scientifically sound principles. Where you live should not determine whether you live, and global solidarity is central to saving lives and protecting the economy."

The big picture: The authors argue that developing and distributing a vaccine will be "a cornerstone of strengthening multilateralism for the future."

  • Some experts fear that nationalism and pre-contracted vaccine production may derail such efforts and damage international cooperation.

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