Developing countries turn to China as they are squeezed out of the race for Western vaccines
By Lucien O. Chauvin, Anthony Faiola and Eva Dou
LIMA, Peru — Tour operator Marco Arellano’s business shuttling tourists to Machu Picchu and the Amazon jungle effectively ground to a halt during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, as this South American nation is caught in the throes of a brutal second wave, he and millions of other Peruvians are putting their faith in one country to turn the deadly tide.
Peru has joined developing nations from North Africa to the Andes in counting on China for help. For these customers, the vaccines developed in Chinese laboratories and now being distributed globally could hold the solution to a massive problem: how to inoculate their populations after bigger and richer nations have pushed them to the back of the line for the more reliable vaccines developed in the West.
For Beijing, which has invested heavily in a region seen by Washington as America’s backyard, its vaccine diplomacy could be a double win: a way to open new markets for its pharmaceutical products while building goodwill in Latin America, a region where it has long sought to expand its influence.
Faiola reported from Miami. Dou reported from Seoul.
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