A health worker holds a bottle of the Spunik V vaccine (left) and Sinopharm's Covid-19 vaccine in Belgrade, Serbia, on February 1.  Photo: AFP.

The EU is in a state of mind before vaccine Covid-19 Russia and China


On February 4, French President Macron admitted China’s efforts to develop the Covid-19 vaccine were “an obvious diplomatic success” that “made them” a little humiliated “.

Speaking of President Emmanuel Macron made in the context of the vaccination program of the European Union (EU) facing the risk of failure. While Israel has vaccinated Covid-19 for more than half of the population, the US and UK have 9.4% and 14%, respectively, compared to 2.8% in the EU.

The people working in the pharmaceutical industry identified the slow order and the bargain price of vaccines are the reasons for the EU in trouble. European officials said the unjust vaccine distribution of the multinational pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca was also a factor that caused them to “lag”.

In addition, delivery of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine developed in Germany was temporarily interrupted, while other potential Covid-19 vaccines ordered by the EU are still in the testing process.

A health worker holds a bottle of the Spunik V vaccine (left) and Sinopharm’s Covid-19 vaccine in Belgrade, Serbia, on February 1. Image: AFP.

Meanwhile, the two leading countries in vaccination in Europe are outside the EU. The UK, which recently left the Union, currently uses the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines, and Serbia, which are deploying Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine and the Covid-19 vaccine run by China National Pharmaceutical Corporation (Sinopharm). develop.

In Serbia, more than 7% of people received the first dose of vaccine, while this figure in Germany is only 2.4%, the same level as in other EU countries, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Serbia is vaccinating faster,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted in a TV interview on Feb. 2, referring to the country’s use of Chinese vaccines. “We always say that any party licensed by the European Pharmaceutical Authority (EMA) is very welcome.”

EMA said it is providing scientific advice on the licensing process for Sputnik V and CoronaVac, the Covid-19 vaccine made by the Chinese company Sinovac, although neither developer has submitted a request. approved in EU.

Developers Sputnik V also started looking for production partners in Germany, and expressed hope that the vaccine will be “green-lighted” by the EU in March. Sputnik V’s reputation also strengthened last week, when The famous Lancet medical journal published the analysis results showing that the Russian vaccine is up to 91.6% effective in symptomatic nCoV infections.

The prospect of Sputnik V being deployed in the EU came as Berlin was under pressure to tougher with Moscow, after Russian opposition activist Alexei Navalny “suspected poison”. According to David Fidler, senior global health expert at the Council on Foreign Relations, the current chaotic situation makes the EU a “clown”. “I’m sure the Russians and Chinese are celebrating,” said Fidler.

Russia does not seem to hide its attempt to use vaccine diplomacy to increase its international influence, as shown by the naming of Sputnik V, similar to the name of the Sputnik 1 satellite launched into space by the Soviet Union in 1957. “Russia’s choosing a strategy that focuses on EU cohesion and finds the weakest joints to influence has clearly been successful,” said Peter Kreko, director of the independent advisory group Political Capital in Hungary.

Despite claiming not to use vaccines as diplomatic leverage, in public statements, Chinese officials still refer to the Covid-19 vaccine as a way for broader cooperation and outreach. According to observers, any of Beijing’s vaccine partners in Europe are likely to worry Washington, as the two countries are still in a head-to-head position.

After China quickly responded to Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s call for help with Covid-19 vaccine, European countries also provided assistance. However, it seems too late to change the Serbian perception that China has “opened its arms” in the midst of a turn away from the EU.

Now, smaller countries may increasingly see Serbia’s path as the only way out of a pandemic. In fact, the EU has not yet fulfilled its commitment to supply vaccines to the World Health Organization (WHO) Covax program, with the aim of distributing vaccines to countries that cannot afford it, because they themselves struggling.

“Now, the EU must seriously consider the vaccines from Russia and China. It is the result of the terrible level of the pandemic, but also the mistakes in the policy,” said expert Fidler.

In his speech to the Atlantic Council on Feb. 4, Macron said that in the long run, he believes the Covax program could be “more effective” than other efforts to support developing countries. . “If all of this is financially focused and committed, we can provide vaccines to those countries, far exceeding the amount that China will deliver in the coming weeks and months,” said the French president.

However, the advantage is in Russia and China. Joanna Hosa, deputy director of the European Open program at the Council on European External Relations, points out that the key goal of the EU is to ensure its people are vaccinated.

“I think in this situation, the EU will try to close its eyes to the downside of letting Russia distribute vaccines,” Hosa said.

Luster (According to the Washington Post)

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