Iinexhaustible disruptor, the Covid-19 continues to advance science, in its multiple disciplines. At lightning speed, geopolitics has been enriched with a new object of analysis and the power of a new instrument: the vaccine. A year after the start of the pandemic, the vaccine is the most contested political weapon.
Lightning Speed - in English, warp speed – this is precisely the name given in the United States to the operation which, thanks to a particularly virtuous public-private partnership, enabled a vaccine to emerge in ten months where, in normal times, the process takes five to ten years. By injecting billions of dollars in grants into the research and development of several pharmaceutical companies, the federal defense and health administrations have paved the way for an unprecedented acceleration in the production of Covid-19 vaccines.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel did not want, Tuesday, January 26, to leave the United States the monopoly of this pride. Before the Davos Economic Forum, she recalled that the first vaccine approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) had been designed “Thanks to clairvoyance” from a German start-up, BioNTech, which had very early reoriented its strategy. BioNTech has established an industrial partnership with the American giant Pfizer; their vaccine is, at this stage, the most used.
But at the start of the year, it is not the leaders of the countries where the vaccine was invented who are scoring points: it is those who organize the best vaccination campaigns.
Huge political stake
By this yardstick, three countries can be proud of having launched massive campaigns: Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States. Paradoxically, these are countries where the management of the epidemic has been marked by confusion; the vaccine is a lifeline as much health as political.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson even spearheads a campaign to erase its mistakes and counter the negative effects of Brexit, with nationalist overtones reminiscent of the heroic Blitz era. “We administered more doses than Italy, France, Spain and Germany combined”, triumphs a poster of the Conservative Party with an outdated aesthetic. With a little luck, it is the success of the vaccination offensive that his voters will remember, more than the tragic toll of the pandemic, which has just passed the milestone of 100,000 deaths.
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