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China Launches Slander Campaign Against India’s Vaccine Diplomacy | India News

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NEW DELHI: As India’s vaccine diplomacy puts China on the defensive in South Asia, Chinese government spokesman Global Times has tried to mount a smear campaign to try to discredit the Indian initiative.
India has already gifted the Covishield vaccine made locally by the Serum Institute of India to all Saarc countries except Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
While India will donate 500,000 doses of the vaccine to Sri Lanka on January 27, the government has assured Kabul that Afghanistan will feature high on India’s priority list for the Covid-19 vaccine once the local regulator grants approval for use.
Not surprisingly, the Global Times reacted with a propaganda campaign against India’s ‘Vaccine Maitri’ initiative, raising doubts about India’s ability to make vaccines after the fire at the Serum Institute and also claiming that Indians in China were ” adopting “Chinese vaccines.
GT cited a BBC report as claiming that All India Drug Action Network, a patients’ rights group, said the approval of Covishield produced by IBS was rushed because the manufacturer had not completed a “bridge study” for the vaccine. He stated that “the company has said it will try to carry out the bridge trial of the vaccine in India in February, according to the BBC.”
In contrast to India’s effort, China has had little to offer countries in a region where it otherwise continues to rapidly expand its influence, both economically and politically. While Nepal’s drug regulator has yet to approve the use of Chinese vaccines, Maldivian government sources said there was so far no indication that China would deliver Covid-19 vaccines. In fact, even China’s close ally Cambodia recently requested vaccines from India despite having received a million doses of Chinese vaccines. A Reuters report last week said China has been in a vaccine stalemate with Bangladesh since the latter refused to contribute to the cost of vaccine development.
GT quoted “netizens” and anonymous analysts in an article to say that the IBS fire “may affect people’s confidence in producing high-quality vaccines” and that the vaccine production capacity of the India lives up to the ambitions of the Indian government.
The article also quoted an expert as saying that vaccines from India were being supplied mainly to South Asian countries as a form of aid and that not many countries were buying vaccines from India due to “quality concerns”. However, India is also supplying vaccines by contract or commercially to Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Brazil, Morocco, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
In another article, the Global Times quoted Indian restaurant workers as saying that they were prepared to be inoculated with Chinese vaccines as they had no doubts about the quality of these vaccines. He also highlighted reports in Indian media that said healthcare workers in India were reluctant to accept the Indian Covaxin vaccine.
India had said last week that there was interest in many countries in accessing vaccines from India, which was the world’s center of vaccine production. The government also said that India would continue to supply vaccines to partner countries in a phased manner, while ensuring that domestic manufacturers had adequate stocks to meet national requirements.

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