By then, countries like the UK, the US and Canada hope to be on track to achieve herd immunity, along with a handful of other wealthy countries that have bought most of the Western vaccine supply to be produced in 2021. The gap is a diplomatic opportunity and some foreign capitals are taking advantage of it.
“The vaccine nationalism of Western countries created the space for these other countries to practice vaccine diplomacy,” said Yanzhong Huang, senior global health researcher in the Council on Foreign Relations think tank.
While China sent its Serbian ambassador to the airport ceremony marking the arrival of the Sinopharm doses, and Vladimir Putin uses diplomatic summits to criticize Sputnik V, Washington, London, and European capitals have preferred pharmaceutical companies to be the center of attention, and largely allowed them to decide. where the vaccines go and in what quantities. With the exception of AstraZeneca, most have supplied most of their doses so far to the highest bidders.
“Pfizer, Moderna are also here to make a profit,” said Agathe Demarais, director of global forecasting for the Economist Intelligence Unit. They have short-term goals. So it is very different when a government markets a vaccine instead of a company. “
An illustration of the difference is the Oxford / AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India that Delhi gifted to South Asian governments this month. The formulation was developed by a British university, in collaboration with a Swedish-British company, but came out with a prominent brand: “Gift of the people and government of India”.