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COVID vaccines

China's vaccine diplomacy spoiled by omicron variant

Sinopharm, Sinovac and CanSino Biologics exports fall 97% on poor protection

A nurse handles vials of Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine at a health center in Venezuela in March 2021.   © Reuters

DALIAN, China/TOKYO -- China's exports of domestically produced COVID-19 vaccines have plunged due to weaker protection against the highly transmissible omicron variant compared with U.S. and European products, hindering the country's vaccine diplomacy.

Sinopharm, Sinovac Biotech and CanSino Biologics exported a total of 6.78 million doses in April, down 97% from the peak in September 2021, according to UNICEF. This includes vaccines in which some production processes, such as bottling, were conducted overseas.

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