Although there are doubts about the effectiveness of China’s COVID-19 vaccine, the global vaccine shortage is providing China with an international soft power boost.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China announced this week through the official Xinhua News Agency that 1.1 billion doses of vaccine have been provided to more than 100 countries during the pandemic.
This component of China’s soft power is a tool used to deepen overseas friendships and gain recognition of its main rival, the United States. Although the dispute continues to worsen, it can help enhance China’s image in vaccine-receiving countries. These countries cannot easily Obtain vaccines from other places, observers have said.
“They may not be as effective, efficient and timely as vaccines produced in Western countries, but nonetheless, they provide a certain degree of immunity, which is better than no immunity,” said senior researcher Fabrizio Bozzato. The Marine Policy Research Institute of the Sasagawa Peace Foundation in Tokyo.
Bozato said: “China’s vaccine diplomacy seems to work very well, which is not good for the West because it gives the impression that it has left itself the best weapon against COVID-19.” He said that China will enjoy it. The image of a “reliable partner willing to help.”
Limited availability, broad availability
Among the vaccines developed in China, the World Health Organization stated that the Kexing vaccine has an effective rate of 51% against symptomatic infections, while the effective rate of Sinopharm’s vaccine is 79%. John Swartzberg, a clinical professor emeritus at the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley, said that specific data points, especially the effectiveness of delta variants, are few. However, the Chinese formula is more effective than no vaccine, he said.
According to Xinhua News Agency, during the year, China plans to provide a total of 2 billion doses of vaccines to foreign countries, “this can be done completely.” It added that to date, Southeast Asia alone has received 360 million doses of vaccine.
Xinhua News Agency said that China has established vaccine factories in 15 countries, which is a boon for low-cost distribution. Last year, Sinovac was one of the first pharmaceutical companies in the world to develop a mass market vaccine.
The United States is speeding up plans to distribute more vaccines. In June, the United States purchased 500 million doses of vaccines, which were distributed by COVAX, a WHO-supported initiative for low- and middle-income countries. As of August, the US government has donated 110 million doses overseas.
But this has not satisfied critics such as Amnesty International, a New York-based advocacy organization, who say Western countries are “hoarding” vaccines for their own populations.
In a statement in June, the organization criticized bilateral procurement agreements between rich countries and pharmaceutical companies, stating that “the leaders of the Group of Seven countries did not commit themselves by abandoning intellectual property rules for vaccines, tests, and treatments, and sharing life-saving technologies. International obligations have chosen more equally insignificant half-way measures.”
According to media reports, President Joe Biden is expected to announce the plan at the UN General Assembly next week, and countries have pledged to provide vaccination to 70% of the world by September 2022. According to the World Health Organization, this will require approximately 11 billion doses of vaccine.
And such efforts may still encounter supply bottlenecks.
The top US brand Pfizer pointed out obstacles in overseas vaccine packaging, distribution and cold storage, but the company’s CEO Albert Bourla stated in an open letter that Pfizer “will continue to work around the clock so that we can bring vaccines as far as possible. Change the world quickly, efficiently and fairly.”
Analysts and people from affected countries said that many people in poorer areas of the world are receiving China’s vaccines, which are experiencing an increasing number of COVID-19 cases. These vaccines have few side effects and consider any breakthrough infections to be mild.
“For China’s unwillingness to provide more data, history will not be very friendly, but if China produces a large amount of this vaccine and provides it globally, history may be very friendly to China,” Swartzberg said.
Paramitaningrum, a lecturer in international relations at Bina Nusantara University in Jakarta, said that some Indonesians can only choose the Chinese vaccine or not. Earlier this year, she and her elderly parents were vaccinated against China.
Paramitaningrum said that China’s image has not gotten worse. “This kind of anti-Chinese sentiment still exists, but I can say that its proportion is very low-just for some special reasons-but in general, they are okay,” she said.
Vaccines are not expected to cure old disputes
In some countries, China’s vaccine diplomacy is not enough to eliminate pre-existing disputes.
Indonesians and Filipinos expressed dissatisfaction with China’s claims of maritime sovereignty over 3.5 million square kilometers of the South China Sea. With the support of the strongest military in Asia, China has built artificial islands on the shallows and coral reefs claimed by Manila. Chinese ships also sail in waters that Jakarta claims belong to its exclusive economic zone.
Other countries have been involved in trade and investment turmoil with China, and people in most parts of the world are angry about China as the source of the coronavirus.
Analysts believe that the widely available low-cost or donated Chinese medical assistance will not eliminate these problems, but can alleviate any new emergencies.
Most of the vaccines launched in Brazil earlier this year came from Coxing. Brazilian researchers said after clinical trials in December last year that the vaccine is more than 50% effective.
Despite this, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro stated on May 5 that the epidemic may be a “chemical warfare” launched by a rapidly developing country, and it is generally believed that it refers to China. .
But the heads of state of the Philippines and Vietnam (another usually outspoken South China Sea claimant) did not make anti-China remarks.
Ordinary Filipinos adopt a pragmatic attitude through a cautious viewpoint. According to the domestic news website Inquirer.net, many people prefer non-Chinese vaccines, but cannot tell the clinic which brand to vaccinate.
Marivic Arcega, the operator of an animal feed distributor in Cavite, a suburb of Manila, said: “The President and the Chief Executive decided to introduce Konosing, but on the ground, this is indeed the people’s last choice. “She was injected with AstraZeneca, and her husband was injected with Sinovac.
Jack Nguyen, a partner at Mazars, a business consulting firm in Ho Chi Minh City, said that Vietnam began receiving Chinese vaccines in June. Although the country began its first large-scale outbreak of COVID-19 in June, there are still many people. Refuse to vaccinate.