It is looking increasingly as if the Covid-19 pandemic will be remembered for the global politics of the vaccine. It started with so much promise — a worldwide collaboration of universities, governments and industry to produce a vaccine in rapid time; and an international regime, Covax, to ensure its equitable distribution across the world.

But already the goal of equitable distribution is a slipping away; most of the projected stock of vaccine to be manufactured in the next year has been bought by high- and upper-middle-income countries. The consequences will be horribly dystopian...

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