Across Asia, Chinese-made vaccines have played an important role in immunization efforts against Covid-19, with millions receiving injections of Sinovac or Sinopharm.
But in recent weeks, there has been growing concern about its efficacy.
Currently, several Asian countries that make vaccines made in China as an important component in immunization programs have announced that they will use other vaccines.
This move raises questions, not only about whether China’s vaccines can be trusted, but also about vaccine diplomacy efforts in Asia.
What happened in Thailand and Indonesia?
Last week, Thailand announced it would change its vaccine policy – instead of receiving two injections of Sinovac, its citizens would now receive a mixture of Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines.
Health workers who have been fully vaccinated with Sinovac will also receive a different injection as a booster injection.
Indonesia had announced a similar move the previous week, saying it was giving a Moderna booster shot to healthcare workers immunized with Sinovac.
The decision follows reports that hundreds of health workers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 have died, some of them – two in Thailand and 30 in Indonesia.
Both countries, whose vaccination program rollouts have been slow, have been doing their best to fight the new outbreak.