Republished from the Center for Artistic Activism.
We’re forming a global, advocacy innovation lab to Free the Vaccine for COVID-19 and you can take part.
Around the globe we are taking rapid, drastic action to slow the spread of COVID-19. As we come to terms with the daunting path forward, it’s hard to imagine the day we read the headline “COVID-19 Immunizations Begin.” But our experience with our amazing global scientific community teaches us that it’s only a matter of time until we have a vaccine for COVID-19. This day will arrive. And in that there is hope.
But when we do have a vaccine, will everyone have access to it? Herd immunity only works if the vast majority of the herd is immune. Without affordable access for everyone, across the globe, the vaccine can’t really do it’s job. Already governments around the world are investing billions in tax-payer funds into the research and development of diagnostic tools, treatments, and a vaccine for Covid-19. Since SARS outbreak, the National Institutes of Health alone has spent nearly $700 million on coronavirus research and development. This virus is now a global pandemic, yet experience tells us once the vaccine is discovered, pharmaceutical corporations will want us to pay again to acquire it. How do we make sure pharmaceutical companies profits don’t interfere with doctors, public health officials, and our access to tests, treatments, and the vaccine? How do we make this life saving medicine accessible to our family and friends around the globe and reduce infection?
The good news is that we know what needs to be done, and we – you! – have done it before. We have to fight for free access for all with creative, collaborative and convincing campaigns.
TOGETHER WE WILL FREE THE VACCINE FOR COVID-19
Join us as we do the work, together, to make sure this vaccine does all the good it can do. We won’t win through old methods – holding up signs at a traditional crowded protest march is not an option. So together we’ll find new, better ways that work in our current context. We’ll achieve this by creating an advocacy innovation lab with teams around the world crowdsourcing new methods to achieve our objectives. These “Salk Teams” will design and test creative methods to pressure governments and pharmaceutical corporations to ensure publicly-funded diagnostic tools, treatment, and the COVID-19 vaccine will be sustainably priced, available to all and free at the point of delivery.
WHAT WE’RE ASKING FOR AND WHAT WILL HAPPEN:
Once part of a Salk Team, you’ll connect with dozens of interested, talented and committed people from around the world! You’ll get advanced training through weekly online courses with:
- the Center for Artistic Activism, which has worked around the world helping advocates and activists be more effective by using play, creativity, art, and humor.
- Universities Allied for Essential Medicines, a global student-driven organization focused on ensuring that publicly-funded medicines are affordable to the public
- Special guest collaborators – veterans in access to medicines, the arts, design, and campaigns for public health and human rights.
Together with other SALK Team members, you will create experimental actions to move the needle on affordable vaccines.
WHAT THAT MEANS:
- A weekly total time commitment of roughly 2-4 hours over for 3-4 months.
- Weekly inspiration to help you to prepare: video, reading or an individual action you can take from your home etc.
- Collaboration with other participants in your area (from your home)
WHY SALK TEAMS?
WHAT YOU GET:
- A sense of agency in an uncertain time. A sense of community and belonging as well as connection to new friends collaborating with purpose. Your contributions will matter and be part of the solution to help save lives.
- The opportunity to take action on a crisis impacting us all now.
- Ability to take action from home.
- Respect for your time, schedule, and changing demands in the months to come.
- An understanding that if you need a break for illness, to support a relative, or need some for mental healthcare, then that’s OK. You’re part of a big team and together we got this.
WHAT WE HOPE TO LEARN
We hope to learn how to make the COVID-19 vaccine accessible for all. No one knows how to do that, yet, because we can’t do that without going through an innovation process. Within a few months we’ll have created and evaluated the effectiveness of dozens, maybe hundreds, of ideas. Those successes will move forward, developing and evolving into practical methods. We’ll then implement those methods to take huge steps forward in advocacy for access to medicines. Through sharing our work, it will have already reached other regions and inspired new action. There’s no way to innovate on advocacy without a massive amount of experimentation. We hope to learn from those experiments while developing and building a grassroots movement ready to implement them.
WATCH OUR INFO SESSION
We offered two, live online information sessions on Friday, MARCH 27. You can view one here:
CAN YOU SUPPORT OUR COVID-19 WORK?
Help make this happen.
We understand not everyone is able to participate in the same ways. Your donations will help get this program up an running; building infrastructure, materials for producing actions around the world, and creating, translating, and distributing teaching materials.
Our initial round has begun with roughly 300 participants from 27 countries! If you are interested in the campaign, sign up here to get on the Free the Vaccine newsletter. We’ll send you updates and opportunities to participate.