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US targeted Chinese Covid vaccine to kill competition – expert

A Reuters report revealed the Pentagon spread disinformation about Sinovac shots in Asia at the height of the pandemic

The alleged Pentagon-staged social media campaign targeting China’s Covid vaccine was likely a case of trying to suppress competition, Marcello Ferrada de Noli, a Swedish epidemiology professor emeritus and former research fellow at Harvard Medical School, has told RT.

Reuters, citing former US military officials, reported earlier this week that the US military had run a secret disinformation campaign to disparage China’s Sinovac vaccine in 2020-2021. The campaign reportedly focused on the Philippines, using fake social media accounts impersonating locals to criticize the Chinese jab, as well as test kits and face masks produced by the country. It later reportedly spread to other parts of Asia and the Middle East.

According to de Noli, while anti-vaccine campaigns are often described as aiming to prevent people from getting vaccinated entirely, with the Chinese and Russian vaccines it was a question of rivalry.

“Instead the purpose I believe is… to discourage specific vaccine brands produced in Russia and China in order to sell to those countries vaccines produced by American companies or produced by their associates in Europe,” he stated, pointing out that both the US and EU have “direct contact with big pharma.”

De Noli noted that the campaign reported by Reuters is far from the only instance of the US seeking to discredit vaccines produced in China or Russia. For instance, he recalled a highly publicized 2021 report of the US Department of Health and Human Services that revealed that American health officials under then-President Donald Trump had worked to discourage Brazil from buying the Russia-made Sputnik V vaccine.

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According to de Noli, such cases of unfair competition are “very serious from the point of view of the epidemiology and infection control,” especially as Sputnik V was the “first vaccine that was available in the world and clearly effective.”

According to Reuters, the campaign targeting Sinovac started under the Trump administration and continued months into Joe Biden’s presidency, and was only discontinued in the spring of 2021. Spokespeople representing Trump and Biden declined to comment on the matter. An unnamed senior Pentagon official reportedly acknowledged the campaign but did not provide further details.

A Pentagon spokeswoman did not confirm the campaign’s existence, but said that the US military “uses a variety of platforms, including social media, to counter those malign influence attacks aimed at the US, allies, and partners.” She also alleged that China had launched a “disinformation campaign to falsely blame the United States for the spread of COVID-19.”

The Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry said in an email to Reuters that it was not surprised by the report, as it has long maintained that Washington spreads disinformation about China.

June 16, 2024 at 03:49PM
RT

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