Daily Management Review

Russia And China Accused By EU Of Running Vaccine Disinformation Campaigns


Russia And China Accused By EU Of Running Vaccine Disinformation Campaigns
A report published by the foreign service of the European Union which was published on Wednesday has claimed that campaigns are being run by actors in China and Russia aimed to bring down people’s trust on the coronavirus strategy of the EU as well as rake up suspicion on the Covid-19 vaccines developed in the West.
The two countries are also undertaking these efforts to specifically put pressure and influence on the Western Balkans, the report also noted.
These were the conclusions that were drawn from a report related to disinformation being spread about the Covid-19 pandemic and published by the EU External Action Service (EEAS).
Since the beginning of 2021, where there was roll out of the Covid-19 vaccines and inoculation across the world was speeding up, the efforts of "state-sponsored disinformation" were intensified, the report stated.
The report noted that China and Russia have been making use of promotional campaigns to "undermine trust" in Western vaccines and EU institutions even as the two countries have been campaigning hard to promote the Covid-19 vaccines that have been developed in those countries.
The report said that for this purpose, 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 media controlled by the Russian government have been attempting to "cast doubt" on the European Medicines Agency (EMA) and have accused the European regulator of intentionally delaying approval of the Russian made Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19.
On the other hand, "misleading narratives" about the origins of the coronavirus and the safety of certain Western vaccines is being propagated by China.
The disinformation campaign is actually against Russia and its vaccine, said a Russian sovereign wealth fund responsible for marketing Sputnik V.
"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.
But the EU report said that "vaccine diplomacy" strategies of China and Russia have been specifically targeting the Western Balkans so that the countries could exert influence in the region.
Both Russia and China are trying to claim the failure of democracy and open societies by pointing out to the increase in coronavirus cases in the EU and slow pace of vaccine rollouts, the report also noted with concern.
Even though there have been criticisms of the slower-than-expected vaccine rollout by the EU, the bloc has said that there has been a boost in deliveries of vaccine which means that it would be able to meet its target of vaccinating about 70 per cent of the adult population of the region by summer this year.
However in recent times, Hungary has moved away from the vaccination strategy of the EU and has started use of Covid-19 vaccines from Russia and China.
A review of the Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine was started by the EMA in March and if it is approved it would be the first non-Western produced Covid-19 vaccine to be given approval in the EU.