Chinese Vaccine Efficacy Not High? What Are The Facts?

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Did Chinese CDC director, Gao Fu, admit that Chinese vaccine efficacy is “not high”?

Find out what’s the latest controversy surrounding Chinese vaccines, and what the FACTS really are!


Chinese CDC Director : Vaccine Efficacy Not High

On 10 April 2021, Gao Fu – the director of the Chinese Centres for Disease Control and Prevention – gave a talk on the Chinese COVID-19 vaccines at a conference in Chengdu, China.

He said that “the protection rates of existing vaccines are not high“, and suggested several options to improve their efficacy :

  • increasing the number of doses
  • adjusting the dosage
  • adjusting the interval between doses
  • mixing different vaccines

When that was picked up by International media, he told Chinese state media, Global Times, that his admission that Chinese vaccines had poor protection was “a complete misunderstanding“.

Chinese Vaccine Efficacy Not High? What Are The Facts?


Chinese Vaccine Efficacy : The Current Facts

Now, let’s examine what we currently know about Chinese vaccine efficacy against COVID-19.

Fact #1 : Chinese Vaccines Are Mostly Comparable

Sinophiles and Chinese state media often claim that Chinese vaccines are superior, while Sinophobes insist that Chinese vaccines are junk.

The truth is – Chinese vaccines are far from the best, but are mostly comparable with Western vaccines that use older inactivated or viral vector technologies.

The outlier is CoronaVac from Sinovac Biologics, which barely made it past the 50% minimum efficacy line.

COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy
Pfizer Comirnaty 95.0%
Moderna mRNA-1273 94.1%
Gamaleya Sputnik V 91.6%
Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV 79% ~ 86%
AstraZeneca AZD1222 76% ~ 85%
Novavax Covovax 60 ~ 89%
J&J Janssen COVID-19 66.0%
CanSino Convidecia 65.7%
Sinovac CoronaVac 50.65%

Fact #2 : Efficacy Blinds People To What’s Really Important

The public is obsessed over COVID-19 vaccine efficacy rates, but they are blind to what’s really important – protection against severe disease and death!

As this table shows, efficacy rates don’t tell the full story. The truth is that all these vaccines will protect you against severe disease, and prevent you from dying from COVID-19!

Even the worst Chinese vaccine in this table – the CoronaVac – has strong protection against severe disease, and completely protects against death!

Recommended : Why COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Does NOT Matter!

COVID-19 Vaccine Protection Against
Pfizer Comirnaty 95.0% 100% 100%
Moderna mRNA-1273 94.1% 100% 100%
Gamaleya Sputnik V 91.6% 100% 100%
AstraZeneca AZD1222 76% ~ 85% 100% 100%
Novavax Covovax 60 ~ 89% 100% 100%
CanSino Convidecia 65.7% 90.98% 100%
Sinopharm BBIBP-CorV 79% ~ 86% 90% 100%
J&J Janssen COVID-19 66.0% 85% 100%
Sinovac CoronaVac 50.65% 83.7% 100%

Fact #3 : Vaccine Efficacy Varies Against Virus Strains

All these COVID-19 vaccines are designed to target the original virus strain, whose genetic code was sequenced and released by Chinese scientists on 12 January 2020.

However, since then, the SARS-CoV-2 virus has spread globally and infected over 136 million people as of 12 April 2021.

Each infection represents an opportunity for the virus to mutate into new variants, some of which have changed behaviour or capability – creating a new strain.

Virus strain vs variant
Credit : The Conversation

Each new strain that develops has a chance to become more infectious, more lethal, and reduce the effectiveness of current vaccines.

That’s what Gao Fu is most likely referring to, and is a genuine concern for health authorities and vaccine manufacturers.

That’s why it is so important to quickly vaccinate people – so herd immunity can be achieved before a resistant strain develops!

Recommended : Which COVID-19 Vaccine Should YOU Choose?

Fact #4 : “Improved” Vaccines Are Being Developed

New strains may have new physical characteristics that allow them to evade the immune system of people vaccinated against the original strain.

So new, “improved” vaccines are being developed to target these new strains that are becoming more prevalent.

They are not actually “better” than current vaccines – they have just been modified to take into account the changes in the new strains.

What Gao Fu suggested in the conference are alternative methods to improving vaccine efficacy without developing an improved vaccine.

  • increasing the number of doses
  • adjusting the dosage
  • adjusting the interval between doses
  • mixing different vaccines

This would, arguably, allow for faster deployment since the Chinese can make use of their existing vaccines, and skip the development of an improved vaccine.

Such changes in vaccine protocol would, of course, require testing to establish their (improved) efficacy against the new variants / strains.

CanSino COVID-19 Vaccine : What You Need To Know!

Fact #5 : Chinese Lack Of Transparency Is The Issue

The big problem with Chinese vaccines is not that they are less efficacious. The problem is that the Chinese have not been transparent about their vaccines.

Even though they were amongst the first to begin testing in 2020, they only released the RESULTS of their trials in press releases, refusing to release the actual data.

Only at the end of March 2021 did Sinopharm and Sinovac release data to the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE).

As of 12 April 2021, not a single Chinese manufacturer has publicly published the trial data for their vaccine.

All this eats into public confidence over Chinese vaccines. Why won’t any Chinese manufacturer release the trial data for their vaccine?

After all, all approved Western and Russian vaccines have publicly done so – Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and even Gamaleya.


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