Can you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot though, if it was a Chinese company that produced highly effective vaccines, and the US was stuck with the J&J vaccine? We'd likely be justifying our use of the J&J vaccine and trying to hand wave away the Chinese made vaccines.
China and the US (or really any part of "the West") are not allies, and are trade partners out of the fact that China wants to grow their global power through trade, and we want cheap stuff. And with the previous US president being openly hostile towards China, I'm not that surprised they continue to be suspicious. Just as much as I think we should be a little less trusting and dependent on China in our trade relations for a variety of reasons.
Yeah, you just need to look towards Japan to see how things can play out. The cultures are similar in that they both are influenced by principles of Confucianism which includes respect for and more focus on the community, so there's similar capacity to get folks to vaccinate. The downside is that the state didn't push for vaccines until the Olympics were approaching, but boy did they catch up quick once they realized they needed to folks vaccinated ahead of the Olympics.
I do wonder how much of China's problem is also the sheer size.
Re: If the tables were turned with vaccine efficacy, I think that might be true to an extent. There is a degree of politics that can play into the drug approval process and certainly favoring domestic products is advantageous.
If you look at the AstraZeneca vaccine, it’s not approved in the US and in fact AZ has scrapped plans to seek approval. That’s despite the US investing $1.2B in AZ through operation warp speed and the US stockpiling tons of doses that ended up being donated abroad.
To an extent this is probably because the vaccine was way behind schedule compared to Pfizer and Moderna, not to mention safety concerns over blood clots. But ultimately seeking US approval would be a long, expensive process. The approval process is a separate process than in Europe and even more complicated and expensive.
In all likelihood the US would not want a Chinese vaccine for political and economic reasons. But the reality is a company like Sinovac wouldn’t bother expending the extensive resources required for US approval- especially if there is the possibility of Americans not wanting it due to skepticism due to its origin.
Just look at this whole baby formula situation. The problem could be relaxed if the FDA allowed European baby formula imports. But because they’re not FDA regulated and European standards differ, they cannot be sold, even if that means parents are struggling to feed their babies. A very similar situation occurred with the CDC and COVID tests- both with the initial PCR tests and again with at-home rapid tests.
The FDA has very incestuous relationships with the major pharmaceutical companies. It would not surprise me for them to be more stringent against outside companies compared to their usual clients. Even in a time of crisis.