May 8, 2021

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The White House has struggled to define its vaccine diplomacy, leaving Ukraine on hold

In February, Kevin said the United States would provide financial assistance to Ukraine to help it distribute the COVAX vaccine doses it had received.

“This is not our biggest donation yet, but it comes at a critical moment,” Kevin said in a statement in February. “It depends on our long-term partnership with Ukraine to support health reform and fight infectious diseases, including COVID. As you know, we have already provided $ 48 million to help Ukraine, for COVID alone.”

But officials working on the federal government’s response to Covid-19 remain divided over whether the United States should send doses abroad at a time when vaccination rates are slowing at home. As US demand slows, it has become difficult for the administration to estimate how many doses it will be able to supply. However, critics of the United States note that the country has more than a billion vaccine doses ordered from many manufacturers – more than enough to vaccinate every American.

The issue of vaccine equality has gained new urgency amid the outbreak in the Southern Hemisphere, as officials, including WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, accused rich countries of hoarding potion. Officials panic increased in poor countries like Ukraine, where the international COVAX program was slow to deliver the doses.

The vaccine diplomacy conversation is relatively new for Blinken, who on any other high-profile trip to Kiev in any other time period is interested in appealing to Ukraine’s concerns about Russia in the first place. But the Covid-19 pandemic has given a new sense of anxiety at diplomatic meetings as countries scramble for the first place in international aid for Covid-19.

Ukraine Access to Covid-19 vaccines are far from certain. The country administered more than 750,000 doses To date. Most of it came from a batch of 12 million doses of AstraZeneca sent out by the Indian Serum Institute in March. But local officials are in the throes of stockpiling to vaccinate the nearly 40 million people living in Ukraine.

Last month, Ukraine agreed to use Over 200,000 doses The Chinese Sinovac vaccine she received in March. Ukraine is also set to receive 16 million additional COVAX vaccine doses. Kiev also recently signed a deal with Pfizer for 20 million doses of the vaccine – enough to immunize 10 million people. It is unclear when these Pfizer doses will arrive.