Coronavirus

Vaccine from China: which countries import it, how effective it is

VCG / Contributor via getty images

The fight against the pandemic is also a technological competition between states. While hundreds of vaccine development projects are running in parallel, the most promising vaccines to date have all come from Western countries: on the one hand from the German-American cooperation Pfizer / Biontech, on the other hand from the US pharmaceutical company Moderna. Both vaccines are around 95 percent effective.

In addition to Russia, whose self-developed vaccine “Sputnik V” is viewed critically by Western scientists, China has also been trying to find its own technological answer to the virus since the beginning of the pandemic.

Millions of Chinese – including military personnel and medical personnel – have already been vaccinated with the Chinese vaccine in the country, but none of the products has received official approval and has been made available to the general public, according to “Wirtschaftswoche”.

There are three promising candidates in China

But the ambitions are also great in this area; China wants to have another 50 million citizens vaccinated by mid-February 2021 and three large pharmaceutical companies are currently working on the country’s own vaccine: Anhui Zhifei Longcom, CanSino, and Sinovac.

As part of these plans, the Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm has now announced details of the effectiveness of the most promising Chinese corona vaccine for the first time. The company announced on Wednesday, December 30th, that the vaccine was 79.34 percent effective against Covid-19. The publication of the data is an important step for the approval of the vaccine and for its acceptance by the public.

Chinese vaccine is exported worldwide

Thus, the vaccine is not only significantly less effective than the US and European competing products, but – contrary to what the Chinese government wanted – it will also be publicly available much later.

Many other countries, especially in South America and Africa, which have not been able to secure enough vaccine doses so far, still have high hopes for the Chinese alternative. This could be exported en masse and cheaper than the Western alternatives worldwide, says the “Wirtschaftswoche” article: The Chinese vaccine, for example, does not have to be cooled as much as its counterparts from Europe and the USA. And in fact, China seems to be aiming more at exporting its own vaccine than getting it approved in its own country.

In the United Arab Emirates, the Sinopharm vaccine was officially approved at the beginning of December – it was even certified there to be 86 percent effective. The approval was “an important vote of confidence by the health authorities of the Emirates in the safety and effectiveness of this vaccine,” reported the state news agency WAM. The first delivery of the vaccine from China has now also arrived in Turkey – it is not yet approved there.

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