Brazilian study reveals real truth about CCP’s ‘vaccine diplomacy’
As the world is still reeling from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, several COVID-19 vaccines are now being approved all over the world by different companies on a fast-track basis. All these approved vaccines and potential vaccine options, developed by different countries and pharmaceutical companies have varied efficacy. Vaccines manufactured by Chinese firms are also being shipped to various countries.
However, the Chinese vaccine has triggered a controversy and questions are being raised by other nations on its efficacy. To salvage its damaged reputation due to the spread of the virus, the Chinese Communist Party(CCP) in a last-ditch effort began its ‘Vaccine Diplomacy’ campaign wherein it has promised to provide developing nations priority access to the coronavirus vaccine produced by China’s SinoVac Biotech firm.
The apprehensions have emerged from a recent Brazilian study, which has revealed that China’s CoronaVac vaccine is not as effective as was touted by China and is certainly not the miracle COVID-19 vaccine that the country was hoping for.
The Brazilian study, released by the Butantan Institute – a biomedical research centre revealed on 12 January that the Chinese vaccine is only 50.4% effective in preventing COVID-19 symptoms.
These new results contradict earlier data provided by the same institute a few days earlier, which claimed that the Chinese vaccine was 78-100% effective against the virus. Several scientists and observers questioned the initial data and later learnt that 78% and above efficacy was ‘manufactured’ on the basis of incomplete and selective data.
After being pressured to release all the data, it was revealed that when all severities of the COVID-19 virus are taken into account, the Chinese vaccine is only 50.4% effective. As per an Al Jazeera report, Gonzalo Vecina Neto, a professor of public health at the University of Sao Paulo and former head of Brazilian health regulator Anvisa stated that there was an urgent need for “better communicators”.
The Chinese vaccine barely meets the 50% criteria set by regulators and is also well below other better tested COVID-19 vaccines such as those by Pfizer and AstraZeneca.
While Turkey and Indonesia have approved the Chinese vaccine, the lack of data is already proving to be a hindrance in the ‘SinoVac getting approval in other places. Even Brazilian health regulator Anvisa has stated that it would require more information about the SinoVac vaccine before approving it.
Turkey has bought 50 million doses of the Chinese vaccine. Indonesia has also approved the Chinese vaccine for emergency use even though the vaccine was found to be only 65% effective as per Indonesian researchers.
Nikolai Petrovsky, a professor at the College of Medicine and Public Health at Flinders University has stated that there is enormous financial and political pressure for these trials to massively overstate their results. He added that countries that failed to control the pandemic now seek to overstate the efficiency of the virus in an attempt to deflect blame and win votes.
A similar claim has been made by Germany-based neuroscientist Gaghan Kizil who revealed that the efficacy rate of the Chinese SinoVac vaccine is only 50.38%. The main problem remains that there is just too much that is not known about the Chinese vaccine because the Chinese government has refused to share all the data. As compared to SinoVac, western-vaccine frontrunners have disclosed much more comprehensive data on trials while testing their respective vaccines.
The Chinese government and Xi Jinping had promised to make the COVID vaccine into a ‘global public good’, but this latest data and non-disclosure of trial data is fuelling skepticism regarding the Chinese vaccine.
After the initial outbreak in Wuhan, China tried to hide the severity of this new-SARS like a virus by silencing those that tried to warn the world and their colleagues about the deadly new virus. Doctors like Dr Li Wenliang were reprimanded by CCP officials when they tried to spread information about the COVID-19 virus, the CCP claimed Wenliang was attempting to spread ‘rumours’.
Recently, China also sentenced citizen journalist Zhang Zhan to four years in prison for documenting the early effects of the virus on the city of Wuhan. The revelations made by Zhan went against the CCP narrative and for that reason, the Chinese government attempted to silence her.
Ever since the global spread of the COVID-19 virus, China has been called out for its reckless actions that allowed the virus to spread rapidly and left several nations unawares. To minimize the backlash and deflect criticism, the propaganda arm of the CCP has been working overtime to change the narrative surrounding the origins of COVID-19.
China has sought to blame other countries for the origin of the virus by stating that the virus entered China from western nations through frozen food packets. Chinese state media even went so far as to take a German scientist’s study out of context to try and prove that it was not responsible for the virus.
China’s vaccine diplomacy was also an attempt by the Chinese government to deflect blame and earn some goodwill from the international community. But China has also tried something similar in the past. During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, China implemented something called ‘Mask Diplomacy’ wherein China would send Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to European countries that were struggling with the virus.
While China was hoping that its ‘Mask Diplomacy’ would gain it some points, its gambit failed as several European countries refused to accept shipments of masks and ventilators from China, stating that they were of sub-standard quality. On 29th March 2020, the Dutch health ministry revealed that they had recalled 600,000 face masks supplied by China. The Dutch officials stated that the masks did not fit quality standards and that their filters did not work as expected.
A BBC report also revealed that Spain’s government also encountered similar problems with testing kits ordered from a Chinese company. The Spanish government stated that it had bought hundreds of thousands of tests to combat the virus but then later found out that almost 600,000 of them could not accurately determine if the person has COVID-19.
Some EU diplomats at the time had branded these attempts by Beijing as ‘politics of generosity’ during a global crisis. EU diplomat Josep Borrell back on 24 March 2020, said that through its ‘Mask Diplomacy’ China was aggressively trying to push the message China was a reliable partner. China’s goals with ‘Mask Diplomacy’ failed and the revelation about the low efficacy rate of its vaccine does not spell good news for its ‘Vaccine Diplomacy’ plans.
The COVID vaccines developed by Pfizer and Moderna are 95% effective in preventing symptomatic cases of Covid-19. Research has shown that the COVID vaccine developed by AstraZeneca is over 90% effective against COVID-19, in addition, AstraZeneca’s vaccine is also cheaper and easier to use than others. On the other hand, China’s SinoVac vaccine has been revealed to have an efficacy of only 50.4%.
China has in the past months been aggressively pushing the narrative that since China has, as per them, managed to control the virus, its political system is superior to the United States. But the world has started to become privy to the CCP’s actions and intentions.
The Chinese vaccine that barely manages to clear the threshold required by the WHO and health regulators is another example of China’s failed attempt to change and manipulate the narrative surrounding the coronavirus. Beijing was hoping that most of the developed world would adopt China’s new vaccine over the US and European counterparts. But the revelation of China’s vaccine having such a low efficacy rate is a big blow to nations that had chosen to rely on the Chinese vaccine.
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(the headline, this story has not been published by Important India News staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)