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December 2020: COVID vaccines on horizon as coronavirus surges in parts of the world

The Brief

December 14, 2020

With many countries around the globe in the midst of second and third waves of coronavirus, Johns Hopkins SAIS experts are addressing missteps nations have made during the pandemic and the development and distribution of vaccines.
Andrew Mertha, Vice Dean and Director of SAIS China, noted in Politico that “every country grappling with COVID made some costly but inevitable mistakes at the early stages of the pandemic, and China is no exception.” 
Mertha participated in a CNN report on leaked files that revealed China's mishandling of the early stages of coronavirus and explained that Beijing “had an image to protect internationally, and lower-ranking officials [within the country] had a clear incentive to under-report -- or to show their superiors that they were under-reporting -- to outside eyes.” 
Yascha Mounk, Associate Professor of the Practice of International Relations, examined how pandemic fatigue has played a role in the uptick of COVID-19 cases in the U.S. for The Atlantic and cautioned that “those of us who want to minimize the number of our compatriots who will die before deliverance arrives in the form of a vaccine need to take responsibility for our own actions.” 
Jennifer Kates, Adjunct Lecturer of International Development, told Vox’s The Weeds podcast “the vaccines are the light at the end of the tunnel for those hoping to get back to a sense of normal life.” 
Hal Brands, Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of the Henry A. Kissinger Center for Global Affairs, wrote about the production and global distribution of coronavirus vaccines for Bloomberg Opinion, noting "there could emerge a situation in which COVID-19 has become far less menacing in most rich, advanced countries, but rages on in the so-called global south." 
Hafed Al-Ghwell, Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute, addressed the issue of unequal access to vaccines in Arab News, writing that the issue could be resolved with a “coordinated and well-funded international effort to secure doses and supervise their distribution as widely and as safely as possible.” 
Kates and Joshua Michaud, Adjunct Lecturer of International Development, wrote in Foreign Affairs that with vaccine shortages “likely to remain a reality in much of the world for at least a year and distribution challenges set to slow immunization efforts long after that, the world should be prepared for COVID-19 to linger for some time.”
The Brief highlights Johns Hopkins SAIS expertise on current events and is produced monthly by the Office of Marketing and Communications.