EU slams Russia, China over vaccine disinformation
April 28, 2021
A new EU report found that Beijing and Moscow are seeking to undermine trust in Western coronavirus vaccines — and intensely promoting their own.
China and Russia are engaging in campaigns to erode trust in the European Union's coronavirus strategy as well as gin up skepticism of Western-developed coronavirus vaccines, the EU's foreign service said in a report published Wednesday.
The report also raised concerns that the countries are using these efforts to particularly exert influence on the Western Balkans.
To do this, both countries "are using state-controlled media, networks of proxy media outlets and social media, including official diplomatic social media accounts, to achieve these goals," the report said.
In Russia, state media outlets have been trying to "cast doubt" on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and accusing the body of delaying the approval of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine.
China, meanwhile, has been propagating "misleading narratives" about the origins of the coronavirus as well as the safety of certain Western vaccines.
A Russian sovereign wealth fund responsible for marketing Sputnik V said the disinformation campaign is actually against Russia and its vaccine.
"We will continue to fight disinformation campaign against Sputnik V in the interests of protecting lives around the world and avoiding vaccine monopoly that some vaccine producers may strive for," it said on Twitter.
According to the report, Beijing and Moscow's "vaccine diplomacy" strategies have been particularly targeting the Western Balkans in an effort to exert influence.
The report voiced concerns that the rise in coronavirus cases in the bloc and sluggish vaccine rollouts are being spun by Russia and China as examples of a failure of democracy and open societies.
Although the EU has been criticized over its slower-than-expected vaccine rollout, the bloc says that a boost in deliveries means it's on track to vaccinate 70% of adults this summer.
Still, Hungary broke with the rest of the EU and has been administering vaccines from both Russia and China.