Dan Tehan v the world: is this what it looks like to go to war?

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The trade minister is off to Europe to beg for more vaccine doses. Is he up to the challenge of ‘vaccine diplomacy’?

Trade Minister Dan Tehan (Image: AAP/James Ross)

Dan Tehan has been sent on a mission to save Australia. Just months after being appointed trade minister, Tehan is headed to Europe this week, where he’ll lobby officials in the UK, the EU and the World Trade Organisation to let us have more doses of vaccine, please.

The stakes are pretty high. In the last week, the Morrison government has effectively binned its vaccination targets, conceding that some Australians might not get their first dose by the end of the year. And while the rollout has been beset by significant teething problems of the government’s own doing, and the AstraZeneca blood clot issue, a major problem has also been anxious vaccine nationalism — the EU blocked 250,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine in March, and the threat of export restrictions continue to have a chilling effect on shipments coming in.

That’s where Tehan will supposedly step in. He says he’ll be doing a bit of “vaccine diplomacy,asking the WTO’s director general “how we can move away from countries using vaccine nationalism?”.

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