Who oh why is the supply of the Oxford vaccine, AstraZeneca, being delayed? Millions of doses of the vaccine are being donated to “poor countries” under the WHO Covax scheme, and the Land of the Pure is amongst them, incapable as we are of producing our own. So, it’s coming from the Serum Institute of India which is the world’s largest vaccine manufacturer, located in Pune. Last year, Serum India and AstraZeneca signed a licensing deal for one billion doses of the Oxford vaccine. Thus far, upwards of 20 million people have been vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine in India at a cost of Indian Rupees 250 in private hospitals and the poor are getting it for free through the Central Government Health Service. A locally produced vaccine by another pharmaceutical giant, Bharat Biotech, is proven to have 80%+ efficiency and is available for free. Meanwhile, here, all the high and mighty got themselves vaccinated earlier in the year, via the first phase of Chinese vaccines. And the rest of us be damned.

The question remains, why is the AstraZeneca vaccine inordinately delayed (is it because of the Indian connection?) when the Chinese alternatives are now being dispensed?

Heads I win …

Heads I win, tails you lose, said The Man of Steel many moons ago when Big Ben’s Hubby persuaded him to stop naming and shaming the leaders of the Miltablishment, in order to gain space. He had said back then that the trust deficit was impossible to overcome and that they were only playing for time. But he told confidants that he would go along with Hubby’s plan, if only to keep the PDM from fracturing. He signed off on the line: “They will revert to form. If you succeed, great! If you don’t, I told you so!” In other words, heads I win, tails you lose.

No brownie points

We hear No 1 recently complained to a member of The Great Khan’s horde that he was getting no brownie points for his efforts on Khan’s behalf. He is rumoured to have said that the Khan is keen to “sort out everyone from reporters to the Opposition” and while he gets his way, he gives nothing in return. Pointing to the lack of governance, No 1 bemoaned the fact that he gets criticism for both the crackdown and The Khan’s poor performance.

In other news, The Khan’s patrons are relieved at the return to the 2003 Indo-Pak ceasefire agreement, reportedly following a nudge to India from the Biden administration. The Indians believe that this suggests that “Pakistan is looking to lessen its dependence on China and CPEC”.