Seven World Leaders Who Have Said ‘Yes’ to a Coronavirus Vaccine

Narendra Modi receives the first dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
Twitter/@narendramodi

Several world leaders have opted to receive a Chinese coronavirus vaccine candidate in recent weeks. Many publicized their inoculation on live TV to promote national vaccine drives.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman received his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine developed by U.S. pharmaceutical company Pfizer on January 8 during a live TV broadcast.

King Salman’s son, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, received the same Pfizer vaccine, also on live TV, on December 25.

United Arab Emirates (UAE) Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed received his first dose of a coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by China’s state-run pharmaceutical company Sinopharm on November 3. The vaccine candidate was still in stage III clinical trials at the time.

Seychelles’ President Wavel Ramkalawan also received Sinopharm’s coronavirus vaccine candidate on January 10.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shared a photo of himself receiving his first dose of Covaxin, a coronavirus vaccine candidate developed by the Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech, to Twitter on February 28.

“I appeal to all those who are eligible to take the vaccine,” Modi wrote alongside the photo.

The prime minister publicly endorsed Covaxin despite the fact that its manufacturer, Bharat Biotech, has yet to release data on its efficacy rate against the Chinese coronavirus. Indian health regulators rushed Covaxin through Phase III clinical trials to approve the shot for emergency use on January 3. A Bharat Biotech spokesperson said on February 22 that the company planned to publish efficacy data on Covaxin “in two weeks.”

The lack of data on Covaxin has not stopped New Delhi from promoting and administering the vaccine candidate. India’s government has procured 5.5 million doses of Covaxin to distribute across the country since India launched a coronavirus vaccine drive — the largest in the world — on January 16.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky tweeted a photo of himself receiving “Covishield from India” on March 2. The British-Swedish pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca and Oxford University developed Covishield and India’s Serum Institute is currently manufacturing the shot. Zelensky revealed in his tweet that Ukraine was the first country outside of India to receive doses of Covishield.

Ukraine secured 12 million Covishield doses from the Serum Institute of India, the world’s largest vaccine maker, on February 5. A former member of the Soviet Union, Ukraine has said it will not approve or use coronavirus vaccines from Russia, with which it is currently at odds politically. Instead, Kyiv has opted to seek vaccines from China and COVAX, the World Health Organization’s global initiative to provide coronavirus vaccines to poorer nations.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo received his first dose of Coronavac, a Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine candidate, on live TV on January 12.

China’s state-run biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech developed Coronavac. Indonesia is among several nations outside China that have contracted with Sinovac to use Coronavac in their national coronavirus vaccine campaigns. An Indonesian government health official administered Widodo’s first dose of Coronavac during a live national broadcast to promote the launch of Indonesia’s coronavirus vaccine drive, which was the largest in Southeast Asia and one of the largest in the world at the time.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdoğan took a cue from Widodo and received his first dose of CoronaVac on live TV on January 14.

Erdoğan told reporters shortly after the procedure that “all political leaders” should “encourage” the public to receive a Chinese coronavirus vaccine. Ankara contracted with China’s SinoVac Biotech to secure 3 million doses of Coronavac for Turkey’s national vaccine drive.

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