Chinese Vaccines Decisive For Developing Nations

Tom Fowdy
७ बैशाख २०७८, मंगलवार

Last week, the Western mainstream media seized upon comments made by director of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, twisting them out of context saying that China’s vaccines had “low efficacy.” The media reports were intended to hammer home the longstanding effort to discredit China’s global vaccination rollout which has persistently been opposed by the West.

In reality, Gao said that China simply ought to improve their vaccines as a natural progression, not that there was anything fundamentally “wrong” with the numerous and growing total Beijing has been offering at home or around the world. Western mainstream media coverage of China’s vaccines has been unfairly sceptical, fuelled by ideological and political prejudice, as well as crude cultural stereotypes about products manufactured in the country.

Due to a longstanding bias that Chinese products are “poor quality,” it has been a natural response for anti-China voices in the West to claim China’s vaccines are not up to standard. This stigma has been reinforced by a zero-sum rendering of the global vaccination rollout which views such actions through the lens of “geopolitical competition,” and erroneously sees China’s longstanding support for developing countries as a “push for influence” against the West.

Not surprisingly, Western media have deliberately sought to spread scepticism and discredit China’s vaccines where possible, even though Western countries have largely hoarded vaccine procurements for themselves and pushed developing nations to the back of the queue. Facing the daunting COVID-19 challenges, Western media have continued to prioritise misinformation regarding China’s vaccines, and attack countries that have used them in their rollouts.

What these distorted narratives fail to reveal is that China’s vaccines have been a fundamental lifeline for the developing world when other countries have been able to do little.

In 2021, China has become the world’s largest producer of vaccines. It is the only country which has been able to completely contain COVID-19 outbreaks at home, vaccinate its own population rapidly and also export vaccines all at once. Nobody else has achieved all three together. In line with this, China has established a stable supply chain which has allowed vaccines to be procured and exported to most of the developing world.

Almost every nation in Latin America and most of the Middle East, Africa and Southeast Asia have used China’s vaccines in some capacity, and the safety and efficacy of Chinese vaccines have earned recognition. China has so far issued conditional approval to four domestically made vaccines and granted emergency use approval to one domestic candidate. However, the Western mainstream media typically seeks to place all of China’s vaccines under the umbrella of a “Chinese vaccine” and misrepresent them as one product.

Given this, attempting to dismiss and attack China’s vaccines is simply misleading and wrong. China’s vaccine support to countries all around the world has made a crucial difference when other countries have failed to do so, or countries earmarked to try and counter that have fallen back into severe crisis. For Africa, Latin America and anywhere else outside of the West, China has undoubtedly proven the most reliable, the most affordable and the fastest route possible to finding a way out of the pandemic. This should be ultimately praised rather than attacked.