Health system employees in China were vaccinated even before market approval. The authorities have now granted official approval to the state-owned Sinopharm vaccine as the first corona vaccine.
The authorities in China have officially approved the first vaccine against the coronavirus. The state supervision for medical devices granted a product of the state pharmaceutical company Sinopharm a conditional marketing authorization. This could now be used to vaccinate “high-risk groups” against the coronavirus, said Zeng Yixin, vice director of China’s National Health Commission. The newspaper “South China Morning Post” reported that vaccination of up to 50 million citizens of the country was planned by the Chinese New Year celebrations in February.
Effectiveness at 79 percent
According to Sinopharm, the vaccine was 79 percent effective in studies. The vaccines from Pfizer / Biontech and Moderna have an average effectiveness of 95 and 94 percent, respectively. Unlike these vaccines, the Chinese vaccine does not use genetic engineering. Rather, it is based on the classic method of triggering an immune reaction through killed coronaviruses.
Even before the official approval, around 4.5 million vaccine doses had been administered in China, particularly to employees of the health system or employees of state-owned companies. Several other Chinese vaccine preparations are currently under development. It is true that there have been emergency approvals for vaccines in China since the summer. So far, however, there has been no official approval.
Transfer to other countries planned
President Xi Jinping had announced that his country would develop various vaccines and then distribute them to other countries at low prices. Indonesia and Brazil – the two most populous countries in Southeast Asia and Latin America, respectively – have already concluded supply agreements with China. Pakistan has now announced the purchase of 1.2 million units of the Sinopharm vaccine. Other developing countries are also hoping for preparations from China or Russia, as they are initially not used on a large scale in the vaccines developed by Western companies such as Biontech / Pfizer or Moderna.
So far there has been a lack of international trust in the Chinese vaccine, also because hardly any test results have been published. Observers assume that China needs to make more study data available in order to gain trust.