Chinese vaccines are not effective, official admits

Coronavirus vaccines manufactured in China are not effective, an official of the China Centres for Disease Control said on Saturday.

The Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates” AP cited the director of the agency Gao Fun, as saying in a speech made at Chengdu.

Turkey is almost exclusively dependent on China’s Sinovac vaccine and since January has administered at least one dose to almost 18 million people, more than a fifth of its population, according to the health ministry.

 “It’s now under formal consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines for the immunisation process,” Gao said.

Experts say mixing vaccines, or sequential immunisation, might boost effectiveness. Researchers in Britain are studying a possible combination of Pfizer-BioNTech and the traditional AstraZeneca vaccine.

Another official from the Centres for Disease Control said developers are working on mRNA-based vaccines, like the one made by Moderna in the United States. These vaccines take advantage of the process that cells use to make proteins in order to trigger an immune response and build immunity to the virus that causes COVID-19.

“The mRNA vaccines developed in our country have also entered the clinical trial stage,” said the official, Wang Huaqing. He did not say when the trial period was expected to be completed.

Gao gave no details of possible changes in strategy but also pointed to mRNA vaccines as a possibility.

“Everyone should consider the benefits mRNA vaccines can bring for humanity,” Gao said. “We must follow it carefully and not ignore it just because we already have several types of vaccines already.”

The effectiveness of the Sinovac vaccine at preventing Covid infections was found to be as low as 50.4 percent by researchers in Brazil. Below 50 percent effectiveness means that a vaccine is not useful.

Claims had been made that the Sinovac vaccine was 98 per cent effective on average. The claims, which have now been shown to be false, had been made by a study conducted at Manisa Celal Bayar University School of Medicine, which ‘found’ that 1.53 health workers who received the Chinese vaccine had high levels of immunity.

The vaccine had been distributed widely around the world, nonetheless. Vaccines made by two state-owned drug makers, Sinovac and Sinopharm, have been exported to 22 countries including Mexico, Turkey, Indonesia, Hungary, Brazil and Turkey, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.