In an unusual development, China’s senior healthcare official has admitted that existing Chinese COVID-19 vaccines are weak and offer low protection against the viral infection.
While addressing a conference over the weekend, the Director of China’s Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Gao Fu, said that the Chinese government is mulling over tweaking the vaccines to produce the required level of immunity.
The rare admission by the top Chinese official comes as China continues to distribute hundreds of millions of doses of indigenously developed COVID-19 vaccines to over a dozen countries, including Pakistan, and to rely on them for its own mass immunization campaign.
CDC’s Director also lauded the advantages of mRNA vaccines, the technology behind the two vaccines considered as the most effective, Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, months after raising questions on the then-unproven method.
China is currently using five COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate the masses. Three inactivated-virus vaccines have been developed by Sinovac and Sinopharm, and one vaccine each by CanSino and Anhui Zhifei Longcom. The effectiveness of these vaccines ranges from 50% to 79%, based on the results of different clinical trials.
On the other hand, the vaccines manufactured by Pfizer and Moderna have proven to offer 95% protection against COVID-19 in clinical trials. Both vaccines are being used by developed countries around the world to vaccinate the masses.
Note that Drug and Regulatory Authority Pakistan (DRAP) has granted Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) to three Chinese Coronavirus vaccines developed by Sinopharm, Cansino, and Sinovac. Overall, DRAP has approved five COVID-19 vaccines for use in the country. Russia’s Sputnik V and Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine are the other two vaccines that have received EUA by DRAP.