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Vaccine Diplomacy or How Big Players Can Assert Influence on World's Poorest Nations

© Photo : PixabayGlobal vaccination
Global vaccination - Sputnik International, 1920, 19.02.2021
At a time of vaccine shortage in many places around the world – United Kingdom excluded – coronavirus jabs are viewed as highly desirable goods that could potentially be exchanged for favourable foreign policies and trade deals.

Johnson wants the world’s poorest countries to secure supplies of coronavirus vaccines, distributed by more fortunate nations. UK has welcomed the United States as the final G7 country on board of the COVAX initiative, meant to provide developing countries with 1.3 billion doses of Vocid-19 jabs. 

Britain is said to be providing £548 million to the scheme. 

The ambition by governments and drug companies to supply vaccines to the less fortunate could be seen as honourable and at the same time as a form of geopolitical pressure via the distribution of the so-called jabs currency.

Britain has stashed 407 million vaccine doses of seven vaccine candidates, including BioNTech/Pfizer, Oxford/AstraZeneca, Moderna and Valneva. At the same time the UK plans to help distribute 1.3 billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to 92 developing countries this year, according to government reports. 

With 130 countries that "are yet to administer a single dose," according to UNICEF, the choice of Covid-19 jab recipients will be thought-provoking.

UK Foreign Secretary is meant to call for ceasefires in local conflicts internationally, so that “vulnerable people living in conflict zones, including in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Ethiopia, can be vaccinated against COVID-19.”

“Global vaccination coverage is essential to beating coronavirus. That is why the UK is calling for a vaccination ceasefire to allow COVID-19 vaccines to reach people living in conflict zones and for a greater global team effort to deliver equitable access. We have a moral duty to act, and a strategic necessity to come together to defeat this virus,” Dominic Raab is set to say at the UN Security Council he chairs on Friday.

Redistribution of excess or current vaccine supplies is not the sole ambition of the UK PM, who also plans to seek reduction in the time it takes to develop new vaccines for emerging diseases.

In support of the proposal by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Johnson’s plan for the future is to develop vaccine in 100 days, as opposed to 300 days – the time it took for Covid-19 vaccinations.

​Critics of the proposal rushed to argue online that vaccine development requires caution an should not be done in haste.

Amid the dropping coronavirus R rate in Britain, the UK government has been gradually gaining confidence following a year of what critics called a total mismanagement of the pandemic. 

Following its poor performance in the first year of the pandemic, the UK government managed to get ahead in game by stocking up on jab supplies, which could be used eventually to strengthen London’s ties and influence in its neighborhood and beyond.


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