The vaccination drive against Covid-19 hopes to attain herd immunity, but it has inadvertently exposed the vast chasm in medical care and facilities available to populations around the globe.
While those in developed nations like the U.S can choose from three different vaccines, many countries are struggling to acquire even one. While countries like Israel have managed to vaccinate most of their citizens, several developing nations struggle to inoculate even the most vulnerable population.
In this context, the TIPP Poll conducted in late June/early July asked Americans how they felt about their country helping those in need with vaccine supplies.
We asked over 1400 Americans, “Should the United States give more of its vaccine supplies to the rest of the world?”
Americans responded with a resounding – Yes.
Here is a breakup of the numbers:
- 70% Yes
- 19% No
- 11% Not sure
Altruistic Or Self-Serving
Aid in many instances, though not necessarily always, is quid pro quo diplomacy. Some nations are exploiting the circumstances presented by the pandemic to further their influence over those countries in need. China was initially hailed as a savior by many developing nations that received its vaccines. But allegations are now being aired that Beijing is trying to impose its will on some vaccine recipients.
Vaccine diplomacy has been in focus alongside conversations of vaccine nationalism. While the WHO appealed to the wealthy nations to help those less fortunate, each country had to make tough decisions based on its population demographics.
In the U.S., the rate of vaccination has considerably slowed in recent weeks. Though initially, the U.S. prioritized inoculating its citizens, it has stepped up and pledged to donate more vaccine doses to COVAX. The global initiative aims to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and is directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and the World Health Organization.
Of the majority of Americans, 70%, who favor helping other countries with vaccine supplies, most are of an altruistic mindset. The survey revealed that though a minority, some Americans hope to reap strategic benefits from vaccine donations. Of those who wish to benefit from donating vaccines and those who do not, the data reads-
- 44% Yes
- 26% Yes, but only if it has strategic benefits
As the country slowly reopens its businesses and public spaces, reports of new variants, recent outbreaks, and emerging clusters in other parts of the world make many here wary. A portion of those who did not want the U.S. to provide vaccines to other countries cited these reasons for their hesitance.
- 11% No
- 8% No, because we need to be prepared for future outbreaks
The Big Picture
Robust support from Americans for offering aid to other nations is indeed welcome in the fight against the pandemic. For, the reality is grim. While close to half of Americans are fully vaccinated, in stark contrast, most African countries have managed to inoculate around or less than 1% of their populations so far.
Such abysmal numbers reveal the massive effort needed to bring the vaccine to all parts of the world. Though countries have been donating vaccines to those in need, the scope of aid necessary is staggering.
The world population is currently pegged at 7.9 billion people. Since the vaccines became available, 3.25 billion doses have been administered globally. According to the New York Times, if the vaccination rate is taken by continent, 74 out of 100 persons in North America have been vaccinated. At the same time, only 23 persons per 100 in Oceania, and merely 3.9 persons out of 100 Africans have gotten the shot.
The world must heed the urgent appeal from the United Nations to present a unified front in the fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. It shows the stark reality that the virus has affected all corners of the globe, and as long as it wreaks havoc in any part of the world, we, as a race, cannot be complacent.
Resources for interesting data on this topic:
Chinese and U.S. special representatives on North Korea agreed to maintain communication with each other in their first apparent phone call since President Joe Biden took office.
Liu Xiaoming (China's special representative for Korean Peninsula affairs) was quoted as telling Sung Kim (U.S. special representative for North Korea) that the problems should be solved in a "phased and synchronized" fashion, suggesting Beijing would allow Pyongyang to get rid of its nuclear weapons step by step while gaining concessions.
Kim said the United States is committed to resolving the issue regarding the divided peninsula through diplomatic means, and Washington hopes that it will resume dialogue and contact with North Korea as soon as possible, according to the ministry.
Taiwan's planned acquisition of anti-ship and air-defense missiles aims to counter Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) amphibious assault ships and advanced ballistic missiles.
According to projections by Taiwanese and U.S. militaries, China's amphibious capabilities would threaten Taiwan in five years, said Su Tzu-yun, an associate research fellow at the Institute of National Security and Defense Research.
China is laying down more amphibious assault ships and tank-landing ships, including the 40,000-tonne Type 071 amphibious assault dock and the 25,000-tonne Type 075 landing helicopter dock.
The procurement of the ships illustrates the PLA's expanding capability to launch multipronged amphibious operations, posing a security threat to Taiwan.
A report by South China Morning Post said the PLA has deployed missiles in Fujian and Zhejiang provinces across the Taiwan Strait.
Indigenous submarines and a plan to buy 400 ground-launched Harpoon missiles from the U.S. would give Taiwan crucial capabilities in defending against an amphibious attack.
Iran gave notice to the UN watchdog IAEA of concrete steps to produce uranium metal-enriched to up to 20 percent purity.
The move takes Iran a step closer to developing materials that could be used to make a nuclear weapon.
"It is worrying that Iran chooses to escalate its non-performance of its [nuclear deal] commitments, especially with experiments that have value for nuclear weapons research," U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a briefing.
"It's another unfortunate step backward for Iran, particularly when we, for our part, have demonstrated our sincere intention and willingness to return to the [deal]."
Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Kazem Gharibabadi, confirmed the news, saying the first silicide fuel plate will be produced soon using 20 percent enriched uranium for medical purposes.
Violence by Myanmar's security forces continues, though, and no ASEAN envoy to Myanmar has been appointed.
Russia strongly supports diplomatic efforts by the ASEAN regional bloc to end the post-coup crisis in Myanmar, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said during talks in Jakarta with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi.
An envoy from the bloc, coupled with Russia's and ASEAN's "coinciding" positions on how to approach the crisis in Myanmar – especially on imposing sanctions – would give additional impetus to joint efforts on Myanmar, he said.
Moscow's top diplomat also took a veiled shot at the Washington-led Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) on the Indo-Pacific. He said the four-member group was attempting to undermine the centrality or lead role of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the region.
Lavrov said there were attempts to create "dividing lines" that undercut ASEAN's lead role in the region – an apparent reference to the U.S.-led Quad, an alliance which Beijing has branded as anti-China.
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