The Unprecedented Challenge of Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution

Alexander Chernyshev, Georg Fahrion...

The countries that get the vaccine first will also be the first to end their lockdowns, open up schools and restaurants and restart their economies. And those who control access to the best vaccines will gain power. "The pandemic offers an opportunity for some countries to establish themselves as producers of public goods and thus gain more influence than they were able to acquire in the 20th century by way of ideology," predicts Dmitry Trenin, head of the think tank Carnegie Moscow Center.

Other countries, meanwhile, will have a difficult time acquiring any vaccines at all. "If COVID-19 has shown one thing, it’s that the world is selfish and self-centered,” Karline Kleijer, emergency coordinator for the aid organization Doctors without Borders, said back in July. "I have never seen such a dirty, mafia-like street fighter mentality as I have seen in the past few months in the procuring of masks." And the logistics behind mask supplies were relatively simple by comparison.

But at least there is some cause for hope right at the moment. It looks as though the world won’t just have a single coronavirus vaccine at its disposal in the near future, but a whole range of them. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), some 48 vaccine candidates are currently undergoing clinical trials. Eleven of them are in decisive Phase III trials. The producers of these vaccine candidates hail from China, the United States, Russia, India and several European countries.

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