China’s Covid Vaccines Proven Effective in Protecting Citizens
China has announced that its domestically developed Covid-19 vaccines are effective and able to protect the health of Chinese citizens and people in other countries. This announcement, made by the National Health Commission (NHC) during a briefing with foreign ambassadors in Beijing, has led to speculation that the government will not import foreign vaccines for its citizens. The NHC also stated that China has the most extensive vaccine production line in the world, producing over 7 billion doses per year, and has already provided over 2.2 billion doses to more than 120 countries and international organizations.
The most widely administered Chinese vaccines are inactivate vaccines, which use the older but well-proven technology of injecting a killed or slow form of the virus. According to the World Health Organization, these vaccines, developed by companies such as Sinovac and Sinopharm, have provided 79% protection against Covid-19 symptoms and hospitalization. This is lower than the efficacy of mRNA vaccines, such as those develop by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have been shown to provide around 95% protection.
Chinese vaccine maker CanSino Biologics recently announced positive interim results for its mRNA Omicron-targeting booster dose. According to the company, a “phase 2b” trial for the vaccine elicited 23 to 29 times more antibodies than inactivated jab when given as a booster to those who had already received three shots. This mRNA vaccine’s first production phase is expected to produce 100 million doses. However, it may take several months for new vaccines to be approved and made available for widespread use.
Despite the effectiveness of its domestic vaccines, China has faced calls to increase transparency over its handling of a recent outbreak in the country and to use more effective mRNA vaccines. The US and European Union have offered to share their mRNA vaccines with China. Still, the Chinese foreign ministry has stated that the country’s vaccine supplies are “adequate” and able to meet the demand of anyone who wants to be vaccinated. The NHC has indicated that it follows a principle of considering the safety, effectiveness, accessibility, and affordability of vaccines, adhering to laws and regulations and respecting science when choosing vaccines. It has also been reported that 90% of the Chinese population has been fully vaccinated.