Vaccine Diplomacy Round Two: Biden fails to deliver the goods for democracy

Vaccine Diplomacy Round Two: Biden fails to deliver the goods for democracy

  • Despite producing less than Europe and exporting to fewer countries than India, China is winning at vaccine diplomacy
  • Restrictions in India and the EU may play well domestically, but undermine them as credible partners, and undercut Biden
  • Bangladesh, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Chile, Mexico, Brazil and Peru are making best use of pre-procured doses

Although I’m not Christian, I, like many Tellimer readers, have reason to celebrate this Easter—a Covid vaccination – in my case a first jab of AstraZeneca and still a sore arm a week later. But my Covid vaccination is also a time to think about the deep inequity of global vaccine distribution. My mother in the US has been jabbed, but I doubt that my parents-in-law in South Africa will be any time this year.

Looking back at round one

At the beginning of February, I started keeping score in the game of vaccine diplomacy. With the first quarter complete, it’s time to look at the score at the end of the next round but, before doing that, let’s remember where the players stood in February:

  • The Israel-UAE duo were quick out of the blocks, using innovative procurement and ample cash to vaccinate faster than others;

  • The US, the UK and Brazil had all rolled out more quickly than expected, helping to make up ground after their poor handling of the virus;

  • The UK missed the opportunity for a spectacular goal – getting the “Oxford” brand on doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine made in India;

  • Meanwhile, strong success in containing the virus domestically allowed China to lay the foundation to pull ahead in vaccine diplomacy, even while it was held back by its own lack of data transparency, about both clinical trials and export numbers.

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