21:39 GMT30 July 2021
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    CNN raised eyebrows on Friday after publishing an analysis purporting that China has administered almost 1 billion doses of its COVID-19 vaccines. The article, authored by two CNN journalists based in Hong Kong, comes ahead of the US media outlet's 'three-times-a-week' update on Beijing's growing influence.

    Citing data from China's National Health Commission, CNN's Nectar Gan and Laura He on June 18 claimed that the country has administered over 945 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccines. 

    "Within days, China will reach a staggering 1 billion doses in its Covid-19 vaccination drive -- a scale and speed unrivaled by any other country in the world," reads the article. 

    Netizens have pointed out, however, that the article omitted any information regarding the efficacy of China's vaccines, despite the World Health Organization (WHO) approving the emergency use of Sinovac's CoronaVac and Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine. 

    "For those still reluctant, China has a powerful tool in its arsenal: a top-down, one-party system that is all-encompassing in reach and forceful in action, and a sprawling bureaucracy that can be swiftly mobilized," reads the article, claiming that Beijing is operating on a policy of "vaccinate all who can be vaccinated." 

    Many have refuted CNN's analysis, accusing the mainstream outlet of pushing Chinese "propaganda", and including "unverified numbers".

    "Their numbers are as trustworthy as Tom Cruise's self-account of his height," quipped podcaster Jeff Blehar. "Beyond that, good for republishing CCP propaganda as a news story." 

    Both vaccines are made in Beijing and were created using established technology on an inactivated virus. Unlike the mRNA vaccines manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson, the WHO-approved Chinese vaccines can be stored at refrigerator temperatures, allowing the vaccines to be transported to, and administered in, areas experiencing poverty or lack of resources.

    Per WHO panel data, Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine has a 79% efficacy rate in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 in adults aged 18 to 59 years old. 

    The WHO panel reported earlier this month that Beijing's CoronaVac vaccine is only 51% effective at combating COVID-19 in late-stage trials. 

    Alongside touting the reported number of vaccine doses administered in China, the CNN analysis also notes that China's National Health Commission is unable to offer a breakdown of how many individuals have been fully vaccinated in the country. 

    Beijing is hoping to vaccinate some 40% of its population of 1.4 billion by the end of June, according to epidemiologist and Chinese government adviser Zhong Nanshan. This comes a month behind China's previous estimate. 

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    Tags:
    CNN, US media, Beijing, COVID-19, vaccines, health, World Health Organization (WHO), Twitter
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