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When it comes to vaccines, good news has been in short supply for SA. And even if things get better from here, it won’t make up for the earlier fumbles. The failure to procure enough vaccines early enough has dire health and economic consequences for countries, with the risk that they will be trapped in a cycle of new waves of infection and lockdowns.

Just this week, data showed how optimism about Europe’s recovery, fuelled by progress in developing vaccines, proved to be misplaced as a new surge in the virus prompted new restrictions. Due to the eurozone economy shrinking in the last three months of 2020, there’s a greater risk that the 19-nation currency area will slip into a recession. Economists are particularly negative on Europe, as opposed to China or the US, partly due to its self-inflicted vaccine crisis, which has morphed into political strife and bickering in the EU, a club that’s usually polite and reserved in its operation...

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