South Asia and Beyond

Vaccines & Variants: The Beginning Of The End Or The End Of The Beginning?

NEW DELHI: In a first step, about fifty million doses of Covid vaccines (for a world population of nearly eight billion) have been administered across the globe in a month since the first approval for use. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, is aiming to distribute two billion doses worldwide by the end of this year. India’s vaccine diplomacy has seen consignments sent to Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Mauritius, Seychelles and Bhutan. India has also announced supplies as grant assistance to Sri Lanka and Afghanistan after regulatory clearances from them. Contractual supplies are also being undertaken to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Chinese state media reports the five vaccines being developed are being offered as donations and commercially. Pakistan, several ASEAN countries, Jordan, the UAE, Turkey, Brazil, Serbia, Ukraine and some African countries have ordered the Chinese versions.

On ‘Talking Point’, Dr Ashish K. Jha, Dean, Brown University School of Public Health and Professor of Health Services, Policy and Practice talks to StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi on the global rollout of vaccines, the different challenges in different countries, how the Biden administration has changed course on tackling the pandemic, the UK variant and other potential strains and India and China’s vaccine diplomacy.

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A practicing physician, Ashish K. Jha is an expert on pandemic preparedness and response as well as on health policy research and practice. He has led groundbreaking research around Ebola and is now on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, leading national and international analysis of key issues and advising state and federal policy makers.