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Chile’s Reliance on Chinese-Made Vaccines Provides a Cautionary Example for Public Health Officials in Africa and Other Developing Regions

A health worker administers a dose of the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine against COVID-19 to a man at a vaccination center in Santiago, on March 30, 2021. Martin BERNETTI / AFP

A number of events have converged to further constrict the flow of COVID-19 vaccines to Africa and other regions throughout the Global South. India, once a major vaccine exporter, halted all overseas shipments in an effort to contain a massive surge of infections at home. In turn, that has put further pressure on the global Covax alliance, which has been struggling of late to find enough supply for the world’s poorest countries. And then, last week’s decision by Johnson & Johnson to temporarily take its vaccine off the market to concerns over blood clotting has made the situation even worse.

This means that some African countries may have no other choice, at least for now, then to turn to Russia and China for vaccines given that production output in both countries is steadily rising.

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