By Dylan Chawawa
WHEN the world was caught off-guard by a highly contagious virus characterised by speed, surprise and high mortalities, efforts were made to try and come up with effective vaccines so as to attenuate the pandemic. Late in 2020 the world experienced headlines of many vaccine runners presenting their data, with many from the Western bloc.
These vaccines include Astra-Zeneca, Pfiezer, Johnson and Johnson, Covaxin, Sputnik V among others.
China saw its vaccines coming from two big companies that is Sinopharm and Sinovac.
When China started to administer its doses, the programme was characterised by the tales of realism.
The programme was in a pool of scepticism. It was not something new because whenever China, Russia and Cuba develop a vaccine their data is always questioned.
A huge part of the world has less trust in products made outside the Western world.
With all these obstacles, the Chinese vaccine campaign can be termed a surprising success but an inevitable one.
The Asian giant is in the lead in terms of being able to manufacture vaccines within its territory and make them penetrate everywhere in the world for everyone.
The ability of China to be in the Covax facility has given the country room to introduce its vaccines to everyone. China has from the start targeted the low and middle income countries which are in the global south.
These countries were left behind as the global north scooped most of the pricey vaccines.
The Asian giant has made huge donations to many African countries, for example Zimbabwe received more than half a million Sinopharm vaccines from the People’s Republic of China. Zimbabwe is one of the countries which have managed to steer the ship to calmer waters.
The vaccine campaign has been and continues to be a face-saving stanza for China, so that it can transform itself from an object of mistrust to a saviour. China has donated about 10 times more vaccines in foreign lands than it distributed in its territory.
COVID-19 became a new dynamic of a threat to security. A threat which does not recogniseany borders or any race.
In order for the world to fight such a virus there is need for further co-operation over isolation. Europe is highly safeguarding its survival.
The European Union has blocked vaccine companies from shipping out vaccines from the bloc before they meet the demand in the bloc.
This should not just be a shocking wave to other blocs but should send enough signals to the whole world that there is need to support those who do not block access.
China has managed and continues to capitalise on slow deliveries from US and European vaccine makers. For example Chile received fewer Pfiezer jabs than on the actual deal.
The country only received 150 000 doses instead of 10 000 000 doses.
Whenever China strikes a deal it makes sure that it upholds what is on the deal. China accompanies the doses on the deal with pledges also. This has resulted in the Chinese vaccines success.
The traditional technology used on the Chinese vaccines called inactivated virus vaccine, which aims at cultivating batches of the virus then killing them has added more to the chart.
Many countries and experts praise it as safer and effective than the less-proven technology being used by Western competitors that targets the coronavirus spike protein.
Sinopharm and Sinovac can be easily stored in standard refrigerators which makes them attractive to many countries in the global south and those on the road to the global north.
Many countries struggle to meet the ultra-cold storage needed for many Western vaccines.
The rare cases of blood clots associated with the Western fancy vaccines making headlines every day are unavoidably repelling individuals, organisations and States.
Yes, the Western fancy vaccines may boast on world news about their efficacy and effectiveness but China’s humble and traditionally made jabs are dominating the world.