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Op/ed: U.S. Should Share Vaccines to Cover the Globe

As Other Nations Make Donations, We Could Start Looking Like Hoarders, Business Researcher Says

By Kislaya Prasad

Woman gets COVID vaccine

AP Photo/Juan Karita

A woman receives a shot of the a Chinese COVID-19 vaccine at a home for the elderly yesterday in La Paz, Bolivia. A UMD researcher said the United States should prioritize providing vaccines to other countries, both to bring the pandemic to an end and to enhance U.S. diplomatic relations.

While the Biden administration has started helping other countries vaccinate their people, such efforts have been “timid and halting,” raising the specter of a continuing global pandemic while bypassing opportunities to expand diplomatic “soft power,” writes Kislaya Prasad, a Robert H. Smith School of Business research professor and academic director of the Center for Global Business, in a new op/ed in Fortune.

The U.S. has long led the world in response to global disasters, and should stay true to that stance by making global vaccination a national priority, he writes.

It will soon become hard to escape the conclusion that the U.S. is hoarding vaccines. Much the same is true for the U.K., European Union, and Canada. Even making allowances for prudence, the stockpiles seem excessive.

Where the U.S. has been inwardly focused, other countries—notably China, India, and Russia—have been engaging in what has been called “vaccine diplomacy.” All three have made donations and sales to a number of countries. 

These flows largely follow strategic interests. In China’s case, vaccines have been delivered to countries in Africa, Southeast Asia and Latin America; from Russia they have gone to Eastern Europe and Central Asia; and in India’s case, the emphasis has been on its neighboring countries (Pakistan excluded). Interestingly, India’s Ministry of External Affairs keeps a running total on its website, and lists 77 countries to which Indian-made vaccines have been supplied (through grants, commercial contracts or the COVAX initiative to achieve equitable vaccine access globally). 

Read the rest in Fortune.



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