Will China’s “Vaccine Diplomacy” Provide a Sustained Geopolitical Advantage?

Will China’s “Vaccine Nationalism” Provide a Sustained Geopolitical Advantage?

A prominent U.S. military commander, Admiral Craig Fuller recently suggested in a video conference involving members of the Defense Writers Group that China was mobilizing its various COVID-19 vaccines around the world in a bid to not only stop the pandemic but also leverage the vaccine for purposes of geopolitical positioning. In a New York Times article, Admiral Fuller emphasized that China was using its vaccine brand positioning to help other nations such as Turkey, or even ones in the backyard of the US such as the nations in Central and South America, while the U.S. sought to “take care of itself first.” For example, various Chinese vaccine candidates are being administered as research and possibly emergency use candidates in Turkey as well as a number of Latin American nations. Fahrettin Koca, Turkey’s Health Minister recently stated that Turkey has ordered 50 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac; the first shipment will purportedly occur on December 11. Of course, Turkey will first test the vaccine at trial site locations in a Phase 3 study, but it may switch to emergency use if outcomes look good. 

Although no prominent Chinese vaccine candidates (i.e., Sinovac, Si...

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