Welcome back to Axios World.
- We're starting tonight with the race to vaccinate the world, while saving some time for a potential Trump-Putin nuclear deal (1,466 words, 5½ minutes).
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Welcome back to Axios World.
China's entry into the COVAX initiative means the list of non-participants in the global effort to develop and distribute coronavirus vaccines has dwindled down to Belarus, Kazakhstan, Malaysia, Russia, the U.S. and five small island countries or micro-states.
Breaking it down: 183 countries with a combined 93% of the world's population are either eligible for subsidized access or have said they intend to participate, though some have yet to sign formal agreements.
Why it matters: The distribution of coronavirus vaccines may be the defining global challenge of 2021.
How it works: By pooling resources, COVAX intends to invest in the development of at least nine vaccine candidates, secure lower-cost bulk access and distribute 2 billion doses to all participant countries by the end of next year.
Driving the news: China was late to join COVAX, and the terms of its commitment aren't clear. But Beijing is attempting to contrast itself with the U.S. and counter the reputational damage it has suffered during the pandemic.
The flipside: The U.S. appears to be the only country to have publicly rejected the COVAX initiative outright. It cited the influence of "the corrupt World Health Organization and China."
The bottom line: The U.S. is not alone in prioritizing access for its own population — though it is very nearly alone in refusing to join COVAX and withdrawing from the WHO.
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios
While the effort to vaccinate the world will likely stretch beyond next year even if COVAX proves successful, the wait for Americans will likely be much shorter.
How it works: Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has said the first vaccine approvals could come in November or December.
Zoom out: Ten coronavirus vaccines are currently in phase III trials:
What to watch: The AstraZeneca, Moderna and Novavax vaccines are part of the COVAX portfolio, and they're also among the six receiving U.S. investment.
1. The number of business bankruptcies and insolvencies in most countries has declined this year during a global economic downturn, Axios' Dion Rabouin writes.
2. The death rate in Japan has declined this year during a once-in-a-century pandemic.
Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty
Trump is looking to Vladimir Putin to close the deal on a nuclear agreement before the Nov. 3 election.
The big picture: They've discussed arms control in a string of phone calls over the last six months and dispatched envoys to negotiate in Vienna. But talks appeared stalled until just a few days ago.
Between the lines: Rose Gottemoeller, the chief U.S. negotiator for New START, says a non-binding agreement could still come together quite quickly.
The big picture: Election Day isn't the only deadline driving this process. New START, the last major bilateral treaty limiting the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia, is due to expire on Feb. 5.
David Beasley in Cuba. Photo: Yamil Lage/AFP via Getty Images
The UN's World Food Program (WFP) was awarded this year's Nobel Peace Prize in a pointed assertion that multilateralism is saving lives despite the nationalism espoused by leaders like Trump.
What they're saying: "Multilateralism seems to have a lack of respect these days,” said Nobel Committee director Berit Reiss-Andersen. "The need for international solidarity and multilateral co-operation is more conspicuous than ever."
The flipside: The director of the WFP, former South Carolina Gov. David Beasley, was actually a Trump administration pick. Another former Republican governor of that state, Nikki Haley, nominated him for the Rome-based post while she was America's UN ambassador.
Driving the news: The WFP is one of the world's largest humanitarian organizations, and its mission has grown during the pandemic.
Taiwan is standing at attention. Photo: Sam Yeh/AFP via Getty
China has released new footage of an exercise simulating an invasion of Taiwan, the latest in a series of threatening gestures from Beijing.
Scenes from a shaky ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. Photo: Aziz Karimov/Getty Images
"He was astonished to learn about the details of the COVID-19 pandemic and remarked that it all sounded like some 'zombie apocalypse movie.'"— Vina Nadjibulla, wife of Michael Kovrig, the Canadian employee of the International Crisis Group who was detained in China in Dec. 2018 in retaliation for the arrest of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou and had gone nine months without a consular visit.