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White House struggle to determine its vaccine diplomacy leaves Ukraine dependent

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

This is not our biggest donation so far, but it comes at a critical juncture, Kvien said in a statement in February. It builds on our long-standing partnership with Ukraine to support health care reform and to fight infectious disease, including COVID. “As you know, we have already provided $ 48 million in aid to Ukraine, for COVID alone.”

But officials working on the Covid-19 federal government response are still divided on whether the US should send doses overseas at a time when home vaccination rates are slowing. As U.S. demand slows, it is becoming more difficult for the administration to estimate how much dose it will be able to save. U.S. critics note, however, that the country has more than 1 billion doses of custom vaccines from multiple manufacturers, more than enough to inoculate any American.

The issue of vaccine equality has taken on a new urgency amid outbreaks in the southern hemisphere, with officials including World Health Organization director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus accusing rich countries of collecting doses. Officials in poor countries like Ukraine have grown increasingly panicked as the international COVAX program has been slow to deliver doses.

The vaccine diplomacy talk is a relatively new talk for Blinken, who on any other high-profile trip to Kiev at any other time would deal with the withdrawal of Ukraine’s concerns about Russia. But the Covid-19 pandemic has injected a new sense of anxiety into diplomatic meetings as countries try to get first in line for international Covid-19 aid.

Ukraine access to The Covid-19 vaccine is not safe at all. The country has administered more than 750,000 doses to date. Most came from a batch of 12 million doses of AstraZeneca that the India Serum Institute sent to Mars. But local officials are in the throes of stockpiling to vaccinate the rest of the nearly 40 million people living in Ukraine.

Last month, Ukraine approved the use of more than 200,000 doses of the Chinas Sinovac vaccine he received in March. Ukraine has also decided to receive an additional 16 million doses of vaccines from COVAX. Kyiv also recently struck a deal with Pfizer for 20 million doses of its target enough to vaccinate 10 million people. It is unclear when those Pfizer doses will come.

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