Striking a blow for China’s so-called vaccine diplomacy, state media have mocked the United States for calling attention to its donation of 80 vials of COVID-19 vaccines to Trinidad and Tobago.
“Would this be selected for the Worst Public Relations Award of the Year?" the official Xinhua news agency said on Wednesday in an article on WeChat, which compiled more than 10 mocking tweets by other social media users under a U.S. embassy Twitter statement announcing the donation.
US President Joe Biden said last week that Washington will donate half a billion doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to the world’s poorest countries, on top of 80 million doses it has already pledged to donate by the end of June.
On Monday, the US Embassy in Port of Spain said on Twitter that its donation to Trinidad and Tobago includes 80 vials of the Pfizer vaccine. Typically, a vial contains five or six doses. “We believe that every vaccine counts," the embassy said.
Chinese state media outlets including the Global Times and China Daily took delight at the sarcastic comments generated by the embassy tweet. “Little was given, but much was spoken on it," Xinhua said.
In May, China delivered 100,000 donated doses of Sinopharm’s vaccine to Trinidad and Tobago.
Beijing has not disclosed an overall figure for its vaccine donations, but Reuters calculations based on publicly available data show that at least 16.82 million doses had been delivered by early June.
Both the US and China have been working hard to establish their influence globally through vaccine donations and Covid-19 drugs to third-world countries that are facing shortage. While the US recently announced expanded efforts, China donated domestically made vaccines to desperate governments.
(With inputs from Reuters)