EU report criticizes China and Russia for spreading false news to undermine Western vaccine credibility

The European Union has launched a report criticizing Russian and Chinese media for systematically seeking to divide the West by creating distrust of the COVID-19 vaccine in Western countries in the latest fake news campaign. Russia and China deny all allegations made by the EU regarding the creation of fake news. The EU regularly issues reports and seeks to work with Google, Facebook, Twitter and Microsoft to limit the spread of fake news.

The EU report says Russian and Chinese media are spreading false information to undermine trust in the West’s vaccines. Russian and Chinese media have systematically sought to divide the West by creating distrust of the Western COVID-19 vaccine in their latest fake news campaign, according to a report published in Europe on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

The EU study shows that Russian and Chinese official media outlets pushed fake news online in multiple languages from December last year to April this year, exaggerating vaccine safety concerns, baselessly linking European vaccinations to deaths, and claiming that the Russian and Chinese vaccines were the superior choice.

The report, published by the EU’s Fake News Unit, said the Russian and Chinese vaccine diplomacy “exploits the logic of a zero-sum game, combining fake news and manipulation in an attempt to undermine trust in vaccines made in Western countries.” The unit is part of the European Union External Action Service (EEAS). “Both Russia and China are using government-controlled media, networks of proxy media outlets and social media, including official diplomatic social media accounts, to achieve these goals,” the report said, citing 100 cases from Russia this year.

The EU and NATO have often accused Russia of covert operations, including spreading disinformation, to try to use social divisions to destabilize the West.

The EU report claims that problems with the supply of vaccines from AstraZeneca and the very rare side effects of AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines are being used for their own purposes. The report criticizes “Chinese official channels and pro-Russian government media for exaggerating the content of Western vaccine side effects, distorting and hyping international media reports, and linking deaths in Norway, Spain and elsewhere to the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.”