China’s “vaccine favouritism” could be damaging public health efforts amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a leading expert has said.
China has pledged to donate coronavirus vaccines to 53 countries and export them to 27 more, according to state media, which has celebrated the deliveries.
But critics have accused the country of engaging in vaccine diplomacy – cherry-picking recipient countries to win political influence.
“If you choose countries where you work closer, or has strategic importance to you, then from the geopolitical perspective it can cause your competitors to go against these initiatives,” Dr Jennifer Bouey, professor of health equity at Georgetown University said.
“So some of the news we recently found is that different countries are trying to discredit each other’s vaccine efficacy. From a public health perspective, this is quite damaging.
“We’re in a pandemic, we’re seeing new mutated [variants] coming out, we really need to put a control on the pandemic as soon as possible.
“So that really needs all the vaccines that are available. So either vaccine nationalism or vaccine favouritism can be damaging to this effort.”