Under pressure, Biden wants to change the game of vaccine geopolitics

In this first year and a half of the Covid-19 pandemic, the United States has seen its Chinese and Russian rivals gain ground around the world with an effective display of “soft power”.

It was the geopolitics of the vaccine, exemplified by the trade agreements of Chinese manufacturers, such as those that ensured the start of the vaccination campaign in Brazil, and the aggressive promotion of Sputnik V abroad.

India, another global vaccine hub, has tried to step in, but the nightmare of the country’s out-of-control pandemic this year has stalled its assertiveness.

But he is a player who will return to the field, given the size of his fleet that produces vaccines and the growing certainty of the need for an annual plague vaccination.

Washington was missing. Until January 20, under the administration of Donald Trump, despite significant investments in vaccinations, national vaccination was uncertain in the United States.

The coming to power of Joe Biden considerably accelerated the process, proving the weight of political will at the top of the chain of command, as the objective conditions were similar for the two presidents.

Now, with a good chunk of his population vaccinated, Biden has started to feel pressure for greater international solidarity. It came mainly from the WHO (World Health Organization), but also from Beijing, Moscow and poorer countries.

The American is in a privileged position. He has already purchased 60 million doses of the vaccine from AstraZeneca / Oxford University – the immunizing agent is not even authorized in the United States, which only applies the American vaccines from Pfizer, Moderna and Janssen.

Biden has spoken of distributing such vaccines, along with an additional 20 million doses, by the end of this month. But the data was still seen as modest, as was his initial plan to use the network of allies in Asia to facilitate access to vaccines.

If the numbers provided by the Washington Post are true, Biden will now be able to make history.

If he distributes 500 million doses of vaccine to 100 countries, undoubtedly the most needy, the American will have exceeded all the efforts made by the authoritarian regimes of Beijing and Moscow.

Of course, first and foremost, this must be true, that the multi-billion dollar Pfizer must be industrial scale and conditions detailed. But the point is that politically it can do it: there is money and its own citizens are served. Barack Obama, of whom Biden was deputy from 2009 to 2017, won a Nobel Peace Prize without doing anything.

One of the central points is the fate of drugs. China has put two feet in Latin America, signing the Coronavac production agreement with the São Paulo government and being the main supplier to the Chilean vaccination campaign.

It seems unlikely, especially given Brazil’s relatively better position as a vaccine production center, that Biden is looking at here.

In addition, there are great prejudices against the government denial of President Jair Bolsonaro, as evidenced by the report of American businessmen who work in Brazil and try to oil relations between the countries, which have been damaged by the alignment of the outgoing Planalto president with Trump.

The Russian case is different. The big battleground for Sputnik V is Europe, where it has been accepted in smaller countries like Hungary, but it still faces regulatory hurdles to gain wide approval – despite Germany’s goodwill. and France.

Biden’s plan does not appear to be the focus of the plan, which chases wasted time to remedy his reluctance to look beyond his borders.

The point is, it can do it: Even in a controversial way, life is slowly returning to normal in the country, which has already vaccinated 42% of its eligible population with two doses.

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