As the US announced that it would waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines and the COVID-19 crisis hit India, the world once again set its sights on the supply of COVID-19 vaccines.
Bloomberg News reported on May 7 that although the US advocates abandoning patent protection and it is trying to claim itself as an advocate of expanding vaccine supply, "The US has not donated many vaccines. The world is fast becoming ever more reliant on China for vaccines, with India's raging virus outbreak stifling its ability to deliver on supply deals, even as the US tries to position itself as a champion of wider access."The following is an excerpt from the article:
The world is fast becoming ever more reliant on China for vaccines, with India's raging virus outbreak stifling its ability to deliver on supply deals, even as the US tries to position itself as a champion of wider access."China has become not just the largest exporter, in many countries it has become the only option," said Huang Yanzhong, a China specialist and senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations.
China's reliability as a vaccine supplier is increasing its geopolitical clout at a time when the US and the EU have been slow confronting the global pandemic as COVID hot spots rage out of control in India, Brazil and elsewhere.
India, the world's third-biggest supplier after China and the European Union, had exported 67 million doses to nearly 100 countries until the devastating COVID-19 outbreak prompted it to halt most deliveries in recent weeks.
The crisis in India has led to the depletion of vaccine supplies, prompting many countries to switch to China. Indonesia recently received a shipment of vaccines from China. "In plain view, India's export ban has made Indonesia increasingly dependent on vaccine supplies from China," said Pandu Riono, an epidemiologist at the University of Indonesia.
Amid this backdrop, the US, for months preoccupied with its domestic vaccination push, has come under intense criticism for “hoarding shots at the expense of a global response”. At the same time, other countries have no choice but Chinese vaccines.
Over the past few weeks, leaders of some of the globe’s most populous nations have sought more shots from China. The World Health Organization (WHO) is evaluating China's vaccine data, and many countries are waiting for this authorization. If the WHO allows developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America to access Chinese vaccines through COVAX, the global vaccination effort, demand for Chinese vaccines is expected to rise even further.
(Theauthor is Wu Qian with the www.haiwainet.cn. The article is translated from Chinese into English and edited by the China Military Online.)