Covid19 : Countries using Chinese Vaccine report surge in cases
Seychelles, Mongolia, Chile and Bahrain have in recent months relied on China’s vaccine diplomacy to propel their inoculation drives and get back to a version of normalcy in the time of a pandemic. The four countries have administered at least one dose of the vaccine to a large chunk of their populations, ranging between 58.7% for Mongolia to nearly 72% for Seychelles.
Some experts say one of the key reasons could be the vaccines themselves. The millions of doses provided by China to the countries in recent months may not be very effective in containing the coronavirus disease, especially when faced off against the new virus variants that have triggered outbreaks in regions world over.
Sinovac’s CoronaVac shot has a low efficacy of 51%, and Sinopharm’s 79% against symptomatic disease. In contrast, both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines – primarily deployed in the western world have shown efficacy rates of well over 90% against symptomatic disease in clinical trials.
Last weekend, China’s National Health Commission announced that the country had delivered more than 1 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses to China’s population, adding that 100 million of those had been administered in the six days leading up to Saturday alone.
After a slow start, China has ramped up its vaccination drive markedly, and in no small part due to the availability of its two indigenously-developed vaccines, Sinopharm and Sinovac. While the Sinopharm vaccine received emergency use authorisation from the World Health Organisation (WHO) in May this year, Sinovac received the same in June.
Officials from the four countries, however, say there may be other reasons for this uptick in cases. A health ministry official in Mongolia told NYT that the country may have eased restrictions too quickly, adding that the Chinese vaccines likely prevented severe illness and a higher mortality rate.