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China’s COVID-19 Vaccine Rollout Gains Momentum in Many Developing Regions

There’s been a flurry of activity on the Chinese vaccine distribution front. Over the weekend, a growing number of countries across the Global South are taking delivery of Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines even before they completed clinical trials or received WHO pre-qualification. 

These countries, many in the Middle East, South America, and Asia, are all becoming increasingly concerned that they’re going to be left behind in gaining access to vaccines due to widespread vaccine hoarding by wealthier countries.

Latest Updates on Chinese Vaccine Distribution in the Global South:

  • JORDAN: The health ministry announced that vaccinations will begin on Wednesday after taking delivery this weekend of a batch of Chinese-made vaccines donated by the United Arab Emirates. (JORDAN TIMES)
  • SEYCHELLES: Over the weekend, Wavel Ramkalawan, president of The Seychelles, became the first head of state in Africa to accept the SinoPharm COVID-19 Vaccine. On Sunday, Seychelles took delivery of 50,000 doses that were also donated by the UAE government. (OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT REPUBLIC OF THE SEYCHELLES)
  • THAILAND: The health ministry confirmed that it ordered 2 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines from the Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinovac Biotech. The first 200,000 doses are scheduled to arrive next month, 800,000 in March, and another 1 million in April. (BLOOMBERG)

Footnote: One of South Africa’s foremost scientists and president of the South African Medica Research Council said it was unlikely that either Russia or Chinese COVID-19 vaccines would be approved for use in the country “unless better safety and efficacy data were forthcoming.” (NEWS24)

Insight & Analysis From Around the World on China’s Vaccine Distribution Agenda

China’s drive to distribute COVID-19 vaccines around the world, especially in developing countries, is picking up speed now. That has a number of observers wondering about the political ramifications of Beijing’s so-called “vaccine diplomacy.”

  • BRAZIL: Brazil Embraces Chinese Covid-19 Vaccine as Cases Soar, by Samantha Pearson and Ryan Dube (WALL STREET JOURNAL)
  • INDIA: India aims to use coronavirus ‘vaccine diplomacy’ to counter China, but is it jumping the gun? (SOUTH CHINA MORNING POST)
  • NIGERIA: Pfizer Vaccine For The Elite, But China Vaccine For The Rest Of Us? by Fredrick Nwabufo (SAHARA REPORTERS)
  • UNITED STATES: America’s Vaccine Diplomacy Is AWOL in the Middle East, by Steven A. Cook (FOREIGN POLICY)
  • INDONESIA: Indonesia relies on vaccine rollout as officials lose ‘control’ of pandemic, by Mercedes Ruehl (FINANCIAL TIMES)
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