President of Seychelles Wavel Ramkalawan (right) answers a practitioner prior to receive the first dose of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine produced by Sinopharm at the Seychelles Hospital in Victoria Sunday. More than 1.9 million people worldwide have now died from the virus, with new variants adding to soaring cases and prompting the re-introduction of restrictions on movement across the globe. Photo: AFP
“China keeps promising its African allies that coronavirus vaccines for the continent are a priority. But where are they?” This is the title of a report CNN aired on Monday. The report questioned China’s COVID-19 vaccine promises to African countries, quoting an African scholar saying, “The promises concerning vaccines in Africa have been really vague. There has been no timetable, only promises.”
However, as a matter of fact, Seychelles has started vaccinating its population against COVID-19 with China’s Sinopharm vaccine. The country’s leaders, including President Wavel Ramkalawan, have received the first doses of Chinese vaccines. “It’s as if I was getting a vaccine,” he said, encouraging all people of the African country to get the shots.
Facts speak louder than words. Chinese vaccines have turned out to be most reliable for developing countries, including African countries. Chinese vaccines are the global public goods, and China has made it clear in many occasions that its vaccines will benefit the developing countries in the first place. Chinese vaccines are low-cost and can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, which is especially suitable for African countries.
Vaccine nationalism has more or less become a gap between developed and developing countries. In a global battle for COVID-19 vaccines, inequality is a problem that is difficult to resolve. The distribution of vaccines is uneven in many developed countries, and for many developing countries, vaccination seems to be far away.
Under such circumstances, China has given priority to providing vaccines to less developed countries and has implemented the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind. This will bring hope to the global COVID-19 fight.
In African countries, Egypt and Morocco have ordered Chinese COVID-19 vaccines and are seeking for localized production of the vaccines. In December 2020, Alibaba’s logistics arm Cainiao established a partnership with Ethiopian Airlines to introduce a cold chain capable of transporting temperature-sensitive medicines from China, which will provide great convenience for transporting COVID-19 vaccines to Africa.
But Western public opinion has ignored these facts and has long focused on the so-called China’s vaccine diplomacy. Pfizer vaccines, as mRNA vaccines, require strict transportation and storage conditions, which is difficult to adapt to the actual conditions in developing countries, including African countries.
Western public opinion has also tried to downplay some allergic and adverse reactions their vaccines may cause. And the US’ speed of vaccination is far from being fast enough, considering the severe epidemic situation in the country, let alone providing any help to other countries.
As for China, the country has administered more than 9 million doses of self-developed COVID-19 vaccines, and the vaccination would be administered in the order of key groups, high-risk groups and the general population, according to the Xinhua News Agency on Saturday.
Western accusations against China do not help the global COVID-19 fight at all. Transferring the ideological prejudice against China to Chinese vaccines is contrary to the urgent pandemic situation worldwide. Some Western countries have failed to not only control the epidemic, but also make any contribution to the world. They have dragged other countries’ feet. They have no right to point fingers at China’s promises to African countries.