Countries such as Mongolia, the Seychelles and Bahrain that rely on China’s COVID-19 vaccine to fight the pandemic are now facing an increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, according to Business Standard.
The New York Times reported that examples from several countries suggest that Chinese vaccines may not be very effective at stopping the spread of the virus, especially new variants.
According to the data tracking project Our World in Data, in the Seychelles, Chile, Bahrain and Mongolia, between 50 and 68% of the population has been fully vaccinated with the Chinese vaccine. However, these countries are among the 10 countries with the worst recent COVID-19 outbreaks.
Israel, which has the second highest vaccination rate in the world with shots from Pfizer after Seychelles, has reported nearly 5 new COVID-19 cases per million people. Meanwhile, Seychelles, a country that relies heavily on China’s Sinopharm vaccine, has more than 716 new COVID cases per 1 million people.
Beijing sees its vaccine diplomacy as an opportunity to rise above the pandemic as an influential global power. China’s top leader, Xi Jinping, has pledged to provide Chinese vaccines to millions of people around the world.
Mongolia, which relies on Beijing’s aid, quickly rolled out its vaccination program and eased restrictions. The country has vaccinated 52% of its population. However, Mongolia recorded 2,400 new infections on Sunday, a fourfold increase from a month earlier.
In a statement, China’s foreign ministry said it had found no link between recent outbreaks and the country’s vaccines. Instead, China’s foreign ministry cited WHO as saying that vaccination rates in some countries had not reached enough levels to prevent an outbreak and that countries should continue to maintain epidemic control measures. .
While Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have an effectiveness rate of more than 90%, China’s Sinopharm vaccine has an effectiveness rate of 78.1% and Sinovac vaccine has an effectiveness rate of 51%.
Furthermore, Chinese companies have not released much clinical data to show how their vaccines work in preventing disease transmission. However, a study by Sinovac in Chile found that the vaccine was less effective than Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna’s vaccines at preventing infection in vaccinated people.
Despite the spike in cases, officials in both the Seychelles and Mongolia defended Sinopharm, saying the Chinese vaccine was effective in preventing severe COVID-19 cases.
Nikolai Petrovsky, a professor at the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University in Australia said, given all the evidence, it would be reasonable to assume that the Sinopharm vaccine has minimal effect on limiting transmission [virus]. He said that a big risk with China’s vaccinations is that people who get vaccinated can have few or no symptoms and still spread the virus to others.
According to the Indonesian Medical Association, in Indonesia, where the new variant is spreading, more than 350 doctors and medical staff have recently contracted Covid-19 despite being fully vaccinated with Sinovac.
The New York Times reported that Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates were the first two countries to approve the firing of Sinopharm, even before the late-stage clinical trial data was released. Since then, there have been numerous reports of vaccinated people falling ill in both countries.