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Depoliticized immunization needed to fight global pandemic

(Xinhua)    17:09, February 11, 2021

BEIJING, Feb. 10 -- As the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging all over the globe, many believe vaccines are light at the end of the tunnel.

"If pandemics are microbial wars, then vaccines are our preferred weapons of mass salvation," wrote World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a recent Foreign Policy article.

Several developed and developing countries have joined the COVID-19 vaccine race, and in a short span of time, offered a variety of selections.

Vaccines developed by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNtech and AstraZeneca are popular amid shortages in the West, while Russian's Sputnik V as well as vaccines made by China's Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech, despite approvals and welcomes in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Africa, Latin America, and Central and Eastern Europe, met with some suspicion in the West.

Unfortunately, the main ground for that doubt does not come from a scientific perspective, but political and ideological ones.

Some Western politicians see China as one adversary, particularly in the science and technology domain, and Russia as another.

Those with a Cold-War mindset tend to overlook the proven safety and effectiveness of Chinese and Russian vaccines. They dismiss them in media, confuse the public out of habitual prejudice, and eventually turn a blind eye to the fact that Chinese and Russian vaccines, like all other effective ones, can play a role in the global fight against the pandemic.

In fact, vaccine research and development has always been the priority of both China's and Russia's response to the unprecedented health crisis.

With arduous efforts of their researchers, Chinese experts have provided substantial scientific data and solid clinical evidence to prove the accountability of their jabs.

A paper published on Lancet this week said that interim results from late-stage trials showed that Sputnik V had an efficacy rate of 91.6 percent.

Both countries have collaborated with other countries and the WHO in an open and comprehensive manner since the start of the pandemic and in every battle with the coronavirus through both information sharing and material assistance.

The "Western" vaccines, cleared by rich countries already, are not enough to meet the demand of their own, and even more scant for the rest of the world.

Thus, Chinese and Russian pharmaceutical companies are filling the gap in developing countries with genuine goodwill, wider accessibility, and fairer rollout.

As the world is struggling with the unceasing COVID-19 pandemic, there is a danger of deepening mistrust towards the made-in-China and made-in-Russia. Political games can only do harm, while science-based decisions can save more lives. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Du Mingming, Bianji)

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