European External Action Service publishes updated report on narratives and disinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic
April 29, 2021

European External Action Service publishes updated report on narratives and disinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic


Disinformation around the COVID-19 pandemic, the measures taken to contain it and vaccine roll-out campaigns, continues to be significant, says the updated ‘COVID-19 Disinformation special report’ by the European External Action Service. The objective of this assessment is to provide a snapshot overview of the current trends and insights into disinformation activities related to COVID-19.

Since the last special report, issued in December 2020, the roll-out of different vaccines has gained momentum in many countries around the world, and in conjunction with this, vaccine-related disinformation increased and contributed to spreading fear and mistrust in any type of vaccine.

The report shows how, since the beginning of 2021, state-sponsored disinformation also intensified, targeting in particular Western-developed vaccines. “Vaccine diplomacy has fully replaced mask diplomacy’,” says the report. It is combined, in particular in Russia and China, with disinformation and manipulation efforts to undermine EU institutions and Western/European vaccination strategies.

Pro-Kremlin disinformation towards the Eastern Partnership countries is tailored to the local situation and is often conveyed in the local language(s). Such specific focus includes: accusing the Ukrainian government of “genocide” over its refusal to buy Sputnik V; praising the Belarusian government’s handling of COVID-19, including its cooperation with Russia and Minsk using and producing the Sputnik V; criticising Georgia for its decision to use COVAX-provided vaccines and not Sputnik V, and accusing Tbilisi of accepting orders from the West. 

Find out more

Press release



Interested in the latest news and opportunities?

This website is managed by the EU-funded Regional Communication Programme for the Eastern Neighbourhood ('EU NEIGHBOURS east’), which complements and supports the communication of the Delegations of the European Union in the Eastern partner countries, and works under the guidance of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, and the European External Action Service. EU NEIGHBOURS east is implemented by a B&S Europe-led consortium. It is part of the larger Neighbourhood Communication Programme (2020-2024) for the EU's Eastern and Southern Neighbourhood, which also includes 'EU NEIGHBOURS south’ project that runs the EU Neighbours portal.


The information on this site is subject to a Disclaimer and Protection of personal data. © European Union,