With gifts and exports to more than 80 countries, China has undertaken an active vaccine diplomacy, but its Covid jabs are now facing serious questions on efficacy.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had authorised two made-in-China COVID-19 vaccines, Sinovac and Sinopharm.
Manufacturers of these two Chinese vaccines have joined the worldwide vaccine-sharing system Covax, which aims to give vaccines to poorer countries.
As part of the initiative, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi) stated it will make 110 million doses of the vaccines available.
Covax has agreements with 11 vaccine producers and expects to distribute 2 billion doses globally by early 2022.
However, the problem with Chinese vaccines is that they haven’t given many countries confidence in their fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which happened to have spread from China to the rest of the world.
In recent weeks, there has been an increase in concern over Chinese vaccines.
To combat the coronavirus pandemic and restore normalcy, countries including Mongolia, Seychelles, and Bahrain relied on the easily accessible Chinese vaccines.
These countries are currently dealing with an outbreak of diseases.
In May, a surge in COVID-19 cases in the Seychelles grabbed international headlines.
With the majority of its population having had one or more vaccine doses, the country had the highest vaccination coverage in the world.
According to China’s National Health Commission, more than a billion doses have been administered in China
In China, the spread of the coronavirus has been mostly contained, and the country has largely opened up.
Efficacy rates: A comparison
While the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have efficacy rates of above 90 per cent, China’s Sinopharm vaccine has a 78.1 per cent efficacy rate and the Sinovac has a 51 per cent.
Indian vaccine Covaxin has a 93.4 percent efficacy against severe disease, according to its manufacturer Bharat Biotech’s final analysis of phase 3 clinical trials.
The first vaccination to be licenced for use in India, Covishield, has a confirmed efficacy rate which can be scaled up to 91 per cent when both doses are given 8-12 weeks apart.
The vaccine also generates a stronger antibody response and protects against serious consequences.
(With inputs from agencies)