Forum for Development Studies
Volume 48, 2021 – Issue 2
Politics of Vaccine Nationalism in India: Global and Domestic Implications
Niladri Chatterjee, Zaad Mahmood & Eleonor Marcussen
Published online: 09 May 2021
The fight against the Covid-19 pandemic has shifted from finding a cure to acquiring vaccines and organizing vaccination. The race for vaccination has exacerbated tendencies of hoarding, particularly among rich countries, academically expressed as vaccine nationalism. Vaccine nationalism is harmful to the global effort in the fight against the pandemic. India in contrast has been quite generous to its neighbours in sharing vaccines pursuing its own form of vaccine nationalism. The strategy pursued by India can be read as an effort to gloss over the failures in initial pandemic management, to improve diplomatic leverage and reinforce an idiom of nationalism. Such an effort however has potentially harmful effects undermining trust in the vaccine as well as in the government. The politicization of vaccine also has counterproductive outcomes for democratic practices within the country.