The Chinese corona vaccines offer relatively low protection and therefore the country is considering adapting the vaccination strategy. That is what Gao Fu, the boss of the highest health authority in China, said at a conference in Chengdu.
Studies in Brazil previously showed that Sinovac‘s effectiveness is just above 50 percent. For comparison, the American pharmaceutical company Pfizer claims 97% effectiveness for its own vaccine.
The figures on the effectiveness of the Chinese vaccines vary because there are no standardized figures. Also Gao Fu did not mention precise percentages. Moreover, China has never released the results of the third phase of testing. “It is therefore special that the boss of an important institution came up with these statements,” says Correspondent Garrie van Pinxteren.
It is unclear whether the authorities support the Director’s statements. “It may not have fallen well, because mentions about these statements on social media were immediately erased and censored.”
Also used in Europe
China vaccinates its own population with Chinese vaccines and has exported tens of millions of doses of Sinovac to some 25 countries in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Turkey. Another Chinese vaccine, from Pharmaceutical Sinopharm, is administered in Hungary and Serbia. The Czech Republic wants to use the drug in the short term.
Almost 165 million doses of vaccine have been administered in China until yesterday, of which almost 25 million have been administered over the last six days. This week, China announced its expected production of three billion doses of coronavaccins this year.
The country has not approved any foreign vaccines for use in China. Chinese state media have repeatedly raised doubts about the effects of so-called MRNA vaccines. The resources of PFIZER/BionTech and Moderna have been developed with this new technology, but have so far been identified as unsafe and ineffective in China.
Combination of vaccines
Gao Fu seems to be coming back from that now. At the conference, the director of the health authority first suggested the possible application of this method. “Everyone should consider the benefits of MRNA vaccines. We should not ignore it because we already have a number of vaccines,” he said.
“ That is a significant shift,” says correspondent Van Pinxteren, “but it is unclear whether China is considering importing MRNA vaccines or producing them itself.”
In addition, the government is considering combining vaccines, hoping to achieve higher effectiveness. In several countries, it is currently being examined whether mixing (one agent as a first prick and another as a second prick) provides a boost in immunity. For example, a combination of Pfizer and AstraZeneca is being investigated in the United Kingdom.