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India Moves to Challenge China’s Emerging Dominance in C19 Vaccine Distribution in Developing Countries

Workers unload boxes containing Covishield, AstraZeneca's Covid-19 coronavirus vaccine made by India's Serum Institute, upon its arrival from India at the health center in Kathmandu on January 21, 2021. PRAKASH MATHEMA / AFP

Developing countries in Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Americas are now the new front in an increasingly contentious struggle between Asia’s two continental powers. India and China, both pharmaceutical manufacturing powerhouses, are jostling over who will become the primary supplier of COVID-19 vaccines to many of the world’s poorest countries.

The Serum Institute of India (SII), the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, is producing vaccines in collaboration with the University of Oxford and AstraZeneca, and in just the past few days the company’s shipped tens of millions of doses to Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Maldives, Myanmar, Mauritius, and Seychelles.

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