Is “Vaccine Diplomacy” the Right Prescription for the Korean Peninsula? By Jaclyn Schiff

[The following article appeared in UN Dispatch, a site that provides commentary and coverage on the United Nations and issues related to the work of the UN. In this piece from 25 January 2013, Jaclyn Schiff consults a number of experts, including CanKor Brain Trust member Victor Hsu, on the feasibility of “vaccine diplomacy”, an idea proposed in the LA Times by Dr. Peter Hotez. President and director of the Sabin Vaccine Institute and the Texas Children’s Hospital Center for Vaccine Development, Hotez is also dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine and fellow in disease and poverty at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. –CanKor]

Peter J. Hotez (Photo by Agapito Sanchez Jr., BCM Public Affairs)

Peter J. Hotez (Photo by Agapito Sanchez Jr., BCM Public Affairs)

In an op-ed, published Thursday in the Los Angeles Times, Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, suggests that “vaccine diplomacy” could improve relations between North Korea and South Korea.

From joint neglected tropical disease (NTD) treatment efforts to scientific alliances, Hotez argues that it could be “a breakout year for science and vaccine diplomacy to reduce the disease burden on the Korean peninsula and promote an unprecedented level of scientific collaboration.”

But according to experts who study the region, Hotez’s vision may be a long shot.

“DPRK is extremely distrustful and unlikely willing to expose themselves to lethal transmissible diseases in the name of science or anything else,” says Roger Cavazos, an associate at the Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability, which is based in Berkeley, California. Read the rest of this entry »

%d bloggers like this: