The World Health Organization will begin taking compensation claims today related to COVAX, its COVID-19 vaccine distribution program.
The program allows individuals of recipient nations to receive monetary payments for any injuries resulting from vaccine side-effects. By expediting this process, officials hope that sceptical individuals will be more willing to receive a vaccine. COVAX intends to supply two billion doses to 92 of the world’s poorest nations by the end of 2021.
Experts warn that the pandemic risks dragging on without a timely and equitable global distribution of vaccines. Nations with high vaccination rates will be influenced by nations with lower rates if vaccine-immune variants of the virus propagate and spread internationally. A separate initiative spearheaded by the ‘Quad’—a partnership between Australia, India, Japan and the US—seeks to distribute an additional one billion doses throughout Southeast Asia by the end of 2022. However, a resurgence of cases in Europe and India has prompted some nations to withhold doses intended for foreign customers, allowing Russia and China to promote their respective vaccines over Western-developed options. Expect vaccine nationalism to continue through the medium-term while supply chains are stretched and inoculation levels remain critically low in the developed world.
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Julian is a Research Analyst for The Daily Brief where he is a regular contributor. As a researcher and writer, Julian specializes in the political economy of East Asia and global macroeconomic developments.