China moves ahead with vaccine distribution while COVAX, U.S. efforts falter


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By now, COVAX, the global vaccine alliance, should have shipped almost a quarter of a billion doses to the world’s poorest countries. That hasn’t happened. In fact, the alliance has distributed just 72 million jabs, a tiny fraction of what’s needed. Similarly, the United States has faltered in its efforts to send excess vaccines overseas now that inoculation rates at home are beginning to slow.

This is leaving a huge opening for China to expand its already sizable vaccine distribution drive to places like Africa and elsewhere throughout the Global South. As of this week, according to the latest data from Bridge Consulting in Beijing, China has confirmed sales of 732 million doses and has actually delivered 256 million to countries in Asia, the Americas, and Africa, among others. And those numbers are expected to rise quickly in the weeks ahead now that the Chinese-made Sinopharm has received the seal of approval from both the World Health Organization and the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

Bridge Consulting policy and advocacy associate Zhou Zixiang is on the team that tabulates the weekly Chinese COVID-19 vaccine tracker report. He joins Eric and Cobus from Beijing to discuss which Chinese vaccines are going where.