The Jab Geopolitics: EU Left Behind in Southeast Asia as China and US Push ‘Vaccine Diplomacy’

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When it comes to the European Union’s global vaccine drive, the bloc’s members “have their geo-strategic calculations in mind, and will likely favor countries that are friendly or important to European interests,” according to one ASEAN expert. With Covid cases surging in many Southeast Asian countries amid a slow mass vaccination drive, the EU’s international vaccine drive runs the risk of falling behind other major international powers especially in this region, where the United States is ramping up their vaccine-donation programs to compete with China’s contributions.
US President Joe Biden pledged in May to donate 80 million vaccines worldwide from the country’s domestic supply, 75% of which will go through the global COVAX program and the rest donated directly by the US and “targeted to help deal with surges around the world.” And while the White House stressed that the “United States will not use its vaccines to secure…

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