COVID vaccine concerns; US-Afghanistan peace deal; Polestar funding

In today's episode, we examine risks associated with the AstraZeneca and Johnson and Johnson vaccines as countries remain divided over their use due to concerns of rare blood clots, analyse USA’s decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, and look at carmaker Geely’s electric unit Polestar which recently raised $550 million in external funding.
Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • Anglo-Swedish vaccine maker AstraZeneca has seen its shares steadily decline since February reaching its lowest on March 3rd after several European countries reported that its coronavirus vaccine was causing rare blood clots in some recipients. Another COVID vaccine manufacturer, Johnson & Johnson faces questions over its single-shot vaccine for similar blood clots being reported in a few patients. The European Commission has decided not to renew vaccine contracts next year with both AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

  • The USA has announced it will start withdrawing troops from Afghanistan from May 1st after almost two decades. The US announcement comes a month after Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for urgent action in Afghanistan to prevent a "spring offensive by the Taliban" as the 14-month ceasefire window under the Doha agreement, signed in February, last year, headed towards completion. 

  • Swedish electric car maker Polestar recently raised $550 million in external funding. Announcing the investment, Polestar said that this was the first time external investors backed the company and Polestar is in talks with global investors about possible additional fundraising. The company is fast gaining popularity as an emerging rival of electric carmaker Tesla. 

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