China defends its vaccine

China defends its vaccine

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

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A Chinese embassy spokesman in Jamaica says COVID-19 vaccines made in China or the United States both have their advantages and that China is against any nationalism or egoism which jeopardises humanitarian needs.

“Some Western media are keen to hype and exaggerate the weaknesses of Chinese vaccines, but facts have proven that China's inactivated vaccines are safer. China's inactivated vaccine definitely has more solid foundation in safety,” spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Kingston, Xia Shaowu stated in a Jamaica Observer interview. He was referring to international media reports which claimed the results of China's COVID-19 vaccine – Sinoxac – have been disappointing.On the weekend, CNN Hong Kong reported that although mass public vaccination programmes are underway across India and Turkey, where tens of millions are to receive the Chinese shot, there was increasing scepticism about its effectiveness as it was said to have an efficacy rate of 50.38 per cent in late-stage trials in Brazil, “significantly lower than earlier results showed”, the news outlet said.

“That rate only barely crosses the 50 per cent efficacy threshold as set by the World Health Organization, and [is] far lower than the 78 per cent previously announced to much fanfare in China earlier this month,” CNN Hong Kong stated. Xia pointed out that the inactivated vaccine technology has undergone decades of clinical testing, pointing out that China's vaccines can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures, which provides another option for developing countries and a boost in the global COVID-19 fight.

The Chinese are questioning whether the US, for example, would be able to provide vaccines for all developing countries. According to the spokesman: “The US-made vaccines have basically flowed to developed countries, while the Chinese ones have mainly gone to developing countries. We have questions to ask: How much of Pfizer's vaccines can be distributed to the developing countries? Can developing countries receive a large amount of Western vaccines right away?”

Xia pointed out that for now, seven COVID-19 vaccine candidates have been administered worldwide, the main ones being US-made and China-developed. But the spokesman emphasised that the US-made vaccines have generally gone to developed nations, while developing countries have been the main beneficiaries of the ones made in China.

— Alphea Saunders


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