At a time when Chinese Covid-19 vaccines are coming under intense scrutiny for their inefficacy in combating the disease, the Press Trust of India (PTI) published a fluff piece to whitewash its inefficacy. The article was authored by Michael Head for The Conversation and reproduced by the PTI.
In an article titled “CoronaVac vaccine: its results are patchy, but the world can’t ignore its usefulness”, a stoic defense was mounted for Chinese Coronavirus vaccines. The CoronaVac vaccine is produced by the Sinovac Biotech Company in China. The article did concede that the vaccine trials have “painted a mixed picture”.
The report states, “In a trial run in Brazil, the vaccine (CoronaVac) prevented people developing symptomatic COVID-19 with 51% efficacy. In another trial in Indonesia, the vaccine showed 65% efficacy. For comparison, the efficacy of the Moderna and Pfizer mRNA vaccines exceeded 90% in their trials.”
It added, “However, CoronaVac showed very high protection against being hospitalised with COVID-19 in these trials, and almost 100% protection against dying from the disease, and it was on the basis of these findings that the WHO recommended its use. Since then, results of a further phase 3 trial run in Turkey have been published, suggesting that CoronaVac is safe and has an efficacy of 83%.”
While admitting that the CoronaVac has significantly lesser efficacy than their western counterparts, the article claims that “the world needs all the vaccines it can get, and we cannot afford to pick and choose between them. There’s good evidence that all the vaccines approved by the WHO protect against symptomatic disease, and also evidence that they in turn reduce onward transmission.”
The article concludes, “While vaccine demand continues to greatly outstrip supply and there’s huge inequity in the global vaccine rollout, there remains a big role for CoronaVac to play – even if it is slightly less effective than some other vaccines. Populations remain unprotected. Until that changes, the pandemic won’t end.”
Global concern over Chinese Covid vaccines
Over 600 health workers in Thailand were infected with Covid-19 despite receiving two doses of the Sinovac vaccine. 131 health workers in Indonesia, mostly vaccinated with Sinovac, have died due to Covid-19. Top health officials in Singapore have expressed doubt over Sinovac’s efficacy as well.
Kenneth Mak, Director of medical services, Singapore, on Friday, had said that he was worried over the vaccine’s effectiveness as reports coming from other countries suggest those who got Sinovac shot were still getting infected with Covid-19. He mentioned cases from Indonesia where health workers and doctors had to be hospitalized after contracting Covid-19 infection though they were vaccinated with Sinovac shot. He added, “It does give the impression that the efficacy of different vaccines will vary quite significantly.”