The 'vaccine diplomacy' era has dawned

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on March 2, 2021 - Duration: 01:52s

The 'vaccine diplomacy' era has dawned

Large and producing nations are cutting strategic deals for vaccines across the globe, which critics say threatens fair distribution.

Megan Revell reports.

The 'vaccine diplomacy' era has dawned

The world has a new tool for soft power: COVID-19 vaccines.

Large, producing nations are cutting deals for foreign allies, or countries where they seek influence, despite pressing needs at home.

China is hashing out agreements across Africa; Israel’s prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu is under legal scrutiny for sending shots abroad, and Russia is distributing across resource-rich Latin America.

Mexico’s foreign minister... {Mexico’s Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard}: "They are sharing this vaccine when they have not yet finished vaccinating their own country, so it has even greater value than just sympathy or closeness of ties with Mexico for them to send us these vaccines.

It is not a donation, we are paying for them, but if the Russian government did not allow this shipment, we would not be able to access these vaccines today." There is perhaps nowhere this new brand of diplomacy is more evident than the world’s biggest maker of vaccines: India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leveraging supplies to strengthen regional ties and push back against its rival, China.

It’s only just got its domestic immunization program up and running but India has already supplied at least 15.6 million doses of the locally made AstraZeneca vaccine to 17 countries, either through donations or commercial contracts.

Some Indians have criticized the government’s focus on exports when they say more needs to be done to inoculate at home.

Critics say so-called “vaccine diplomacy” is undermining efforts to create fair distribution.

The World Health Organization urged nations against distributing vaccines unilaterally.

It says one-on-one deals undermine its global scheme, COVAX, and its goal of equitable access.

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