Vaccines Are the New Soft Power

Vaccines are not just tools for disease prevention, they’re also a means for countries to project soft power in lower-income countries, The New York Times editorial board noted on Sunday.

  • India has already sent 3.2 million free doses to neighboring countries. Russia and China are sending doses from Serbia to Brazil.
  • China is poised to make the biggest mark on low- and middle-income countries, pledging more ~half a billion doses of its vaccines, according to the AP

For its part, the Biden administration has downplayed the prospect of sharing coronavirus vaccines with Mexico for now, Reuters reports.

Patent Problem

Big Pharma vaccine patents are stifling production lines that could be churning out doses of Pfizer, Moderna, and AstraZeneca vaccines.
Companies that took US and European taxpayer dollars to produce COVID-19 vaccines are withholding the know-how and making one-by-one deals that create uneven pricing across the globe, AP reports.

Outrageous: Some lower-income countries are left paying more per dose than wealthier counterparts.
Vaccine makers counter rich countries should simply donate more doses via COVAX instead of asking them to lift IP restrictions.

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