George F. Gao, a renowned Chinese virologist and the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, recently declared in a press conference that the country’s vaccines do not offer much efficacy and have low protection rates.
So far, the nation has formulated four different vaccines authorized for public use. However, trials of the vaccine that were conducted in other countries, had indicated that the vaccines have an efficacy rate as low as 50 percent. Over 100 million Chinese citizens have got at least one jab of the vaccine.
Chinese Health Official Admits That The Local Vaccine Fails To Provide Much Effectiveness
On Saturday, Mr. Gao Fu admitted, in a press conference held in Chengdu, that the present vaccines do not have high protection rates. Apart from admitting this rather concerning news, he also suggested two solutions. One would to be increase the number of shots, or adjust the dosage or duration between the shots. Another solution would be to mix different formulations of vaccines as a way of boosting effectiveness.
China has placed itself as a pioneer in vaccine development and distribution. It has provided immunizations to nations all around the world including Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia and Zimbabwe. Beijing, the nation’s capital, has been facilitating vaccine diplomacy and has distributed hundreds of millions of doses worldwide while simultaneously, attempting to plant doubt in people’s heads about the efficacy of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.
The two drug companies that provide the majority of Chinese vaccines to the world have not yet released clinical trial data regarding the vaccines’ effectiveness. However, tests conducted in other countries suggest that the efficacy of the Chinese vaccines largely lags behind as compared to the vaccines of the West which have been formulated using the RNA or mRNA process. Influenced by that, China has reported that developers are presently working on mRNA vaccines and that mRNA vaccines developed in the nation have entered the clinical trial stage.
The CoronaVac vaccine, which was formulated by the private biotech firm namely Sinovac, was found to be only 50.4 percent effective in Brazil whereas the same was found to be 83.5 percent effective in Brazil. On the other hand, Sinopharm, which is a state-owned enterprise, claimed that its two vaccines are 79. 4 percent and 72.5 percent effective. Compared to that, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are 94 percent and 97 percent effective, respectively.
Reportedly, in March, the United Arab Emirates began offering a third shot of the Sinopharm vaccines to recipients who failed to develop sufficient antibodies after two doses. Reports like these suggest that Mr. Gao only stated a well-known fact. However, it was the first time in the nation when an official publicly admitted the same.
Gao’s remarks came as a blow while the nation is aggressively attempting to boost its vaccination programmes. As of Friday, China had given out over 160 million doses of vaccine. The country plans on immunizing 40 percent of its 1.4 billion population by the end of June.
While Gao’s comments on Saturday started stirring up conversations, Chinese censors made sure to eliminate online discussions. Additionally, state media also made sure to conduct an interview where Mr. Gao could backtrack his remarks. In the interview, the CDC head said that his comments were misinterpreted and that efficacy rates of all vaccines can sometimes below and sometimes be high.