The EU’s Mass Purchase of Vaccines and What It Means For India and Africa.

Adebayo Adeniran
Apr 28 · 3 min read

The pandemic is fast reshaping the world in which we live with Africa and India set to be at the receiving end of the EU’s machinations.

The European Union via Unsplash by Christian Lue

In today’s New York Times, It was reported that the European Union had secured a deal with Pfizer to purchase 1.8 billion dose of the Covid 19 vaccine. This deal is a bit of a coup for the union, coming off the back of the recent struggles that the EU’s had with Astra Zeneca, in supplying the dose needed to vaccinate citizens of its member states.

The fine print of this transaction states that the EU will purchase 900 million dose with an option for another round of 900 million. Also part of the terms of the contract is the approval for the EU to resell the vaccine and to quote the author of the article:

Empowering it to conduct vaccine diplomacy and support struggling efforts to immunize people in poorer countries.

Which begs the question, what exactly is vaccine diplomacy and what will that look like for African countries and India?

The world’s eyes are currently on India, where 300,000 cases are being reported daily and 200,000 people have died, thus far, from the virus. Given the extraordinary levels of incompetence and complacency of the Modi’s government, in failing to prepare for the current wave of the disease, India will be forced to source for vaccines, from whoever has them by the greatest numbers.

Judging by today’s deal with Pfizer, this means that the EU, in reselling or donating the vaccine to the second most populous country in the world, will ensure that the terms and conditions are highly favorable, at the expense of India and Indians.

Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and largest economy, has yet to announce a ban on flights to and from India and all it takes is for a carrier from India to come to Lagos and there’s the possibility of this variant spreading through the local population.

Should this happen, this will inevitably destroy Nigeria’s structurally dysfunctional health sector, leaving it at the mercy of EU, in seeking to purchase vaccines to immunize its vast population.

The likes of France and Germany, former colonial powers in Africa and founding members of the union, will push for the best possible outcomes, which will, undoubtedly be exploitative and one sided.

For the European Union, its concerns are as political as they are strategic; coming off the back mounting criticisms of its efforts and still reeling from Brexit, the pandemic currently raging in Latin America and India has presented it with a once in a lifetime opportunity to gain a massive competitive edge in today’s cut throat world — especially one that includes China.

Thanks very much for reading.

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