Jun 22, 2021 - World

China's COVID vaccine fail

Nurse in China administers a vaccine dose to an elderly man

A Chinese citizen receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at Mong Ha Sports Complex in Macao, south China. Photo: Cheong Kam Ka/Xinhua via Getty Images

Multiple countries that eagerly inoculated their people with China's COVID vaccines face devastating new case surges.

Why it matters: This revelation undermines China’s vaccine diplomacy, which Beijing has prioritized in the developing world to win influence and commercial deals.

  • China loved the contrast with the U.S., which has been slow in allocating surplus vaccines abroad.
  • Now, developing countries are likely to look increasingly to the West, and not to Beijing, for vaccines.

"In the Seychelles, Chile, Bahrain and Mongolia, 50 to 68 percent of the populations have been fully inoculated, outpacing the United States," the N.Y. Times reports.

  • "All four ranked among the top 10 countries with the worst Covid outbreaks as recently as last week."
  • "And all four are mostly using shots made by two Chinese vaccine makers, Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech."

By comparison, Israel used Pfizer and has 4.95 cases per million people, versus the Seychelles at 716 per million.

The bottom line: China has been offering countries tens of millions of vaccine doses.

  • But if people in these countries don’t want the shots, the U.S. could be back in the driver’s seat on vaccine diplomacy.
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