The struggle to defuse the global vaccine conflict

The struggle to defuse the global vaccine conflict

It’s beginning to feel a lot like 2020 again when PPE shortages led to trade disputes

You’ll have a quieter 2021, they said. Trade won’t be such a big issue, they said. The Brexit deal will be done and Donald Trump will be out of the White House, they said. In fact, we’re not even a month into the year and already the snafu over Covid-19 vaccinations in the EU is starting to echo last year’s trade disputes about personal and protective equipment (PPE), only this time with mind-bendingly sophisticated technology and intellectual property rights involved. All we need now is Emmanuel Macron expropriating a consignment of AstraZeneca vaccines destined for the UK from the runway at Lyon airport and we’ll be partying like it’s 2020.

In this context, today’s main piece looks at whether the critics are right that the public-private partnership model of governments working with pharma companies isn’t the way to vaccinate the world. Meanwhile, Tall Tales explores how the vaccines saga adds another layer of antagonistic myth to a dysfunctional relationship between the EU and UK.