The COVID-19 pandemic is considerably the biggest global health challenge of this modern era. Spreading across all regions of the world, this corona virus disease has disrupted even some of the most advanced economies and healthcare systems. With an increasing global death toll and no near end in sight, questions on the efficacy of global response mechanisms, including the role and relevancy of global health institutions, have emerged. Using a reflexive content analytic approach, this study sheds light on some of these questions, underscoring the disconnect between science, policymaking, and society. Global health funding approaches; politicization of the pandemic, including political blame gaming; mistrust of government and other institutions; and a lack of robust accountability measures are some of the pandemic response obstacles. However, COVID-19 has also presented an opportunity for a collaboration that may potentially solidify global solidarity. A pandemic response built on strategic global health diplomacy, vaccine diplomacy, and science diplomacy can spur both political and economic benefits, advancing development, health security, and justice. The virus thrives and flourishes in face of political divisions and lack of cooperation. While the current global crisis has exacerbated the existing social injustices in societies, national unity and global solidarity is essential to winning the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic…more