Ukraine is set to receive nearly two million doses of the Chinese-manufactured Coronavac vaccine today. As of March 1, Ukraine
Ukraine is set to receive nearly two million doses of the Chinese-manufactured Coronavac vaccine today.
As of March 1, Ukraine has recorded 1.3 million cases of COVID-19 and 26,050 deaths across a population of 41 million people. The country has struggled to effectively access and disseminate vaccines. Almost half of the population (47%) recently reported reluctance to receive the vaccine, citing memories of Soviet-era forced vaccinations. Ukraine also has a recent history of poor vaccine distribution. In 2019, for instance, an ineffective measles vaccine caused an outbreak of the illness.
Sinovac Biotech has become a driver of Chinese international diplomacy. Sino-Ukraine economic relations have grown over the past few years and China views Ukraine as a critical node and entry point into Europe for its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Building credibility with the vaccine in Ukraine may open a window of opportunity for China to expand its plans within Eastern Europe.
BRI projects have exploited Eastern European countries that have privatised critical infrastructure to overcome economic shortfalls while COVID-19 and the sluggish vaccine rollouts mean more economic trouble. Expect China to push BRI projects within the region, stylising the projects as a recovery stimulus for Eastern European economies.