World Chinese vaccines’ effectiveness low, official admits
Australia's COVID-19 vaccine supply is still patchy. But will other vaccines help fill the void?
There have been major delays, tit-for-tat between governments and a lack of information. But at least one expert says the bumps with the vaccine rollout should soon be smoothed out.A time when most of Europe and the US — still hibernating in a long, bitter pandemic winter — were well into rolling out their respective vaccine programs.
In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the country’s top disease control official says their effectiveness is low and the government is considering mixing them to give them a boost.
Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates”, said the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, at a conference on Saturday in the southwestern city of Chengdu.
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Serbia has enough vaccines for its population but as conspiracy theories fester, many are hesitant to take the shots.But the country has been struggling to find people to vaccinate.
Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses in other countries.
“It’s now under formal consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines for the immunisation process,” Gao said.
The effectiveness rate of a coronavirus vaccine from Sinovac, a Chinese developer, at preventing symptomatic infections has been found to be as low as 50.4 percent by researchers in Brazil. By comparison, the vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech has been found to be 97-percent effective.
Beijing has yet to approve any foreign vaccines for use in China, where the coronavirus emerged in late 2019.
Gao gave no details of possible changes in strategy but mentioned mRNA, a previously experimental technique used by some Western vaccine developers while China’s drug-makers used traditional technology.
Mass Vaccination Is a Show of American Might
The U.S. stumbled early in the pandemic, but the vaccine rollout could reboot the country’s image.Now a different technology is shifting global politics: the coronavirus vaccines—or, quite possibly, vaccines more broadly. Unlike nuclear weapons, vaccines don’t have the potential to end life on Earth, and their production and distribution will never require rigid rules to limit who gets them. Indeed, the international institutions being created to govern vaccine distribution are designed to promote proliferation, not restrict it.
“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.”
Gao previously raised questions about the safety of mRNA vaccines. He was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency as saying in December he could not rule out negative side effects because they were being used for the first time on healthy people.
Chinese state media and popular health and science blogs also have questioned the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which uses mRNA.
As of April 2, some 34 million people have received the two doses required by Chinese vaccines and about 65 million received one, according to Gao.
Experts say mixing vaccines, or sequential immunisation, might boost effectiveness rates. Trials around the world are looking at mixing vaccines or giving a booster shot after a longer time period.
Researchers in Britain are studying a possible combination of the Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca vaccines.
The Danger of a ‘Dudes-Only’ Vaccine .
We still don’t know who’s most at risk of getting the Johnson & Johnson vaccine blood clots.That idea, crude though it may be, has something to it. The demographic pattern that’s emerged is striking, and many of the experts I talked with this week told me they suspect that, if the vaccine is ultimately linked to these clots, the relationship will come with a clear-cut sex or gender difference too. (These questions are also being debated with regard to the AstraZeneca vaccine, which contains comparable ingredients and might very rarely cause a similar or identical type of clotting disorder.