China admits low efficacy of vaccines it produces and considers mixing vaccines
In a rare admission of the weakness of Chinese coronavirus vaccines, the top disease control authority acknowledged, at a press conference in Chengdu, that “the vaccines do not have very high protection rates”.
China admits low efficacy of vaccines it produces and considers mixing vaccines (Image: Financial Times)
Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses in other countries while also trying to raise doubts about the effectiveness of Western vaccines+.
“It is now formally under consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines in the immunization process,” said Gao.
Beijing has not yet approved any foreign vaccines for use in China, where the coronavirus appeared in late 2019. In the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau, foreign vaccines are available.
Gao did not provide details on possible changes in the strategy, but pointed to the use of messenger RNA (mRNA) technology, an experimental technique already used by Western vaccine manufacturers while drug producers in China use traditional technology.
“Everyone should consider the benefits that mRNA vaccines can bring to humanity,” said Gao. “We must follow this carefully and not ignore it just because we already have several types of vaccines.”
Gao previously raised questions about the safety of mRNA vaccines, such as Pfizer / BioNtech or Moderna.
It was quoted by the official Xinhua news agency in December that it could not rule out negative side effects because they were being used for the first time in healthy people.
Chinese state-run media and popular health and science blogs have also questioned the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine, which uses mRNA.
As of April 2, about 34 million people have received the required two doses of Chinese vaccines and about 65 million have taken one dose, according to Gao.
Experts say mixing vaccines, or sequential immunization, can boost efficacy rates. Trials around the world are looking at mixing vaccines or administering a booster after a longer period. Researchers in England are studying the possible combination of vaccines from Pfizer and Oxford / AstraZeneca.