Perspectives in the study of the political economy of COVID-19 vaccine regulation
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Vaccines against SARS-CoV-2 continue to be developed at an astonishingly quick speed and the early ones, like Pfizer and Moderna, have been shown to be more effective than many public health scientists had dared to hope. As COVID-19 vaccine research continues to progress, the world’s eyes are turning towards medicines regulators. COVID-19 vaccines need to be authorized for use in each country in which the pharmaceutical industry intends to commercialize its product. This results in a patchwork of regulations that can influence the speed at which products are launched and the standards that govern them. In this research forum article, we discuss several key questions about COVID-19 vaccine regulations that should shape research on the next stage of the pandemic response. We call for a research agenda that looks into the political economy of pharmaceutical regulation, particularly from a comparative perspective, including Global South countries.