Tag Archives: Pharmaniaga

Pfizer vs. Sinovac Vaccine : Which Is Better For Your Child?

Pfizer vs. Sinovac Vaccine : Which Is Better For Your Child?

Now that both the Pfizer and Sinovac vaccines are approved for 5-11 year old kids, some parents are wondering – which is the better vaccine for their child?

Here is a quick summary of both vaccines, as well as their safety and their efficacy against COVID-19!

 

Pfizer vs. Sinovac Child Vaccine : Different From Adult Vaccines?

One of the first questions parents ask me is if the Pfizer and/or Sinovac vaccine for 5-11 year-old children are the same, as the adult vaccines.

The Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year old children is an improved formulation based on the adult vaccine, while the Sinovac vaccine is exactly the same for both adult and children.

Here is a simple and quick comparison :

Characteristics Pfizer Vaccine
for Kids
Sinovac Vaccine
for Kids
Formulation Improved with Tris buffer
More stable, longer storage
No change
No. of Doses 2 Doses
No change
2 Doses
No change
Dosage 10 micrograms
1/3 of adult dose
3 micrograms
Same as adult dose
Volume 0.2 ml
2/3 of adult vaccine
0.5 ml
Same as adult vaccine
Dose Interval 8 Weeks *
5 weeks longer
4 weeks
Same as adult vaccine

* In some countries only, Pfizer still recommends the original 3-week dose interval

 

Pfizer vs. Sinovac Vaccine : Which Is Better For Your Child?

Pfizer Child Vaccine Efficacy : 90.7%

The Pfizer bridging study showed that their lower-dose paediatric vaccine was 90.7% efficacious in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infection.

Their study also showed that the Pfizer paediatric vaccine produced high neutralising antibody titres against the Delta (B.1.617.2) variant at 1 month after Dose 2.

One Month
After Dose 2
Geometric Mean Titres
(GMT)
Difference
USA-WA1/2020 (Reference) 365.3 +36.5X
B.1.617.2 (Delta) 294.9 +29.5X
Unvaccinated 10 Baseline

Sinovac Child Vaccine Efficacy : Unknown

Back in October 2021, the Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM) ran a Phase 3 clinical trial to determine the efficacy of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for children 3-11 years in age.

However, they did not reveal what was the efficacy of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for the 5-11 year old age group, or how it performed against the Omicron variant.

We do know that the adult dose was only 50.4% efficacious in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 from the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and that it has zero efficacy against the Omicron variant (see link and table below).

It seems very improbable that the same vaccine would impart better efficacy in children, more so against the Delta or Omicron variants.

Read more : What HKU Study Revealed About Pfizer / Sinovac vs. Omicron

COVID-19
Variant
Seropositive Rate MN Titer (GMT)
Pfizer Sinovac Pfizer Sinovac
HKU691 Omicron 20% 0% 5.43 Min.
HKU344-R346K
Omicron
24% 0% 6.42 Min.
Delta 100% 68% 124.7 10.3
Beta 100% 0% 25.7 Min.
Alpha 100% 100% 229.4 21.7

Pfizer Is Definitely Better Than Sinovac For Your Child

Until there are good peer-reviewed Phase 3 results of the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine for 5-11 year-old children, I believe it is far more prudent to vaccinate your child with the Pfizer COMIRNATY paediatric vaccine.

At least the Pfizer paediatric COVID-19 vaccine has been proven in a Phase 3 trial to be 90.7% efficacious in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections in 5-11 year-old children.

It is highly unlikely that even the adult dose of the Sinovac vaccine can impart anything close to its original 50.4% efficacy against the ancestral COVID-19 virus, and it seems very likely to perform poorly against the Delta and Omicron variants.

If you want the best protection for your child, get the new Pfizer vaccine for kids. Only consider the Sinovac vaccine if your child has an adverse reaction to the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

Read more : Sinovac Vaccine for 5-11 Yo Kids : What You Need To Know!
Read more : Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids : What You Need To Know!

 

Pfizer vs. Sinovac Vaccine : Which Is Safer For Your Child?

This is also another question that many parents are asking. Everyone is worried about COVID-19, but no one wants their child to be “injured” by a vaccine.

There isn’t a straight answer, because safety has to be balanced against the risk of injury from a breakthrough infection – getting COVID-19 despite being vaccinated.

Sinovac Vaccine : Fewer Side Effects But Low Efficacy

The Sinovac vaccine is no doubt a very safe vaccine, with fewer complaints of side effects. Generally, they include pain and swelling at the injection site, fever, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, joint pain, cough, chills, sore throat and runny nose.

While parents will be relieved to hear that, I must point out that this is because the Sinovac vaccine generates a much weaker immune response. Even with an aluminium hydroxide adjuvant to boost the immune response, its efficacy is relatively poor at 50.4% against the original COVID-19 virus.

Pfizer Vaccine : More Side Effects But Much Higher Efficacy

The Pfizer vaccine is also a very safe vaccine, with rare risks of anaphylaxis and myocarditis in young adults and adolescents. The risk is not much higher than with other vaccines, as my table of data from the massive SAFECOVAC study shows :

  • Pfizer : 1 in every 1.11 million doses
  • AstraZeneca : 1 in every 1.43 million doses
  • Sinovac : 1 in every 2 million doses
Age Groups Myocarditis Events
(Per Million Doses)
Pfizer AstraZeneca Sinovac
Overall 0.9 0.7 0.5
Over 30 Years 1.0 NA 0.6
30 Years + Younger 0.87 NA 0.49

We must also remember that myocarditis is a condition that can affect anyone who suffers a viral infection, and is also seen with a COVID-19 infection.

In fact, you are far more likely to get myocarditis from a COVID-19 infection than either the Pfizer or Sinovac vaccine.

Here is my comparison of the myocarditis risk of triple vaccination (two doses + booster) versus a single COVID-19 infection.

Myocarditis
Risk
Per Million
People
vs
Sinovac
vs
AstraZeneca
vs
Pfizer
COVID-19 450 +300x +214x +167x
3x Pfizer 2.7 +1.8x +1.3x Baseline
3x AstraZeneca 2.1 +1.4x Baseline -0.2x
3x Sinovac 1.5 Baseline -0.3x -0.4x

No matter how you slice and dice the results, it is very clear that the risk of myocarditis is GREATEST with a single COVID-19 infection, than it is with THREE doses of the Pfizer, AstraZeneca or Sinovac vaccines.

If you are worried about your child getting myocarditis, you should definitely protect him/her using the best COVID-19 vaccine you can get, and that would be the Pfizer paediatric vaccine.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Sinovac Vaccine for 5-11 Yo Kids : What You Need To Know!

You can now get the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine for your 5-11 year-old kids in Malaysia!

Here is what you need to know!

 

Sinovac Vaccine for 5-11 Yo Kids : Approved In Malaysia!

On 3 March 2022, the Malaysia Health Ministry (KKM) gave conditional approval to the Sinovac CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine for use in 5-11 year-old children.

This makes the Sinovac CoronaVac the second COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in Malaysia for children 5 to 11 years in age, after the Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine on 6 January 2022.

It is also the second vaccine to be approved for use in the PICKids COVID-19 vaccination programme for children.

Read more : Malaysia Approves Sinovac Covid-19 Vaccine For 5-11 Yo Kids

 

Sinovac Vaccine for 5-11 Yo Kids : What You Need To Know!

Here is what you need to know about the use of the Sinovac vaccine for 5-11 year old kids in the PICKids vaccination programme for children.

When Will PICKids Offer Sinovac Vaccine For Kids?

PICKids started offering the Sinovac vaccine for 5-11 year-old kids starting 7 March 2022.

What Is Sinovac Vaccine For Kids?

The Sinovac vaccine for 5-11 year old kids is the SAME as the Sinovac vaccine for adults.

This is an inactivated virus vaccine – which uses real SARS-CoV-2 viruses that have been killed (deactivated) using β-propiolactone, a sterilising agent.

What Is The Dose For Kids?

The dose is the same for kids, as it is for adults – 600 SU (3 µg) of inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus ,together with aluminium hydroxide (as adjuvant) in 0.5 ml of phosphate-buffered saline.

Read more : CoronaVac Vaccine by Sinovac – Your Questions Answered!

What Is The Dose Interval

Children 5-11 years in age will receive two doses, with an interval of 4 weeks between each dose.

Where Is The Vaccine Injected?

Just like in adults, the Sinovac vaccine will be injected into the deltoid muscle of the child’s shoulder.

Who Qualifies For Sinovac Vaccine For Kids?

The Malaysia Ministry of Health recommends the Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine as the COVID-19 vaccine of choice for children 5-11 years in age.

However, they will offer the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine to :

  • children who cannot receive the Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine for health reasons
  • children who do not have co-morbidities
  • children whose parents refuse to allow them to be vaccinated with the Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine

Read more : Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine For Kids – What You Need To Know!

Who Must NOT Take Sinovac Vaccine For Kids?

Children who are 5-11 years in age must NOT take the Sinovac vaccine if they have :

  • a history of allergy to any ingredient used in the manufacture of the Sinovac vaccine
  • a severe reaction to the first dose of the Sinovac vaccine
  • severe neurological diseases like transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, demyelinating diseases
  • uncontrolled chronic diseases

Is Sinovac Vaccine For Kids Offered For Free?

The Sinovac vaccine is offered for FREE at all COVID-19 Vaccination Centres (PPVs) under the Malaysia Ministry of Health and ProtectHealth.

The Sinovac vaccine is also available in private clinics and hospitals as a paid vaccination option.

Where Is Sinovac Vaccine For Kids Being Offered?

Parents or guardians can register their children for the vaccine through the MySejahtera app. The appointment will be issued through the parent’s / guardian’s MySejahtera app.

Parents or guardians can also bring their children to selected PPVs to walk-in for their COVID-19 vaccination.

Read more : Full List of Walk-In PICKids Vaccine PPVs in Malaysia!

Sinovac Vaccine For Kids Who Received Pfizer Vaccine

Children who experienced a serious reaction to the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine for children, can receive one dose of the Sinovac vaccine as their second dose, 4 weeks after the first dose.

Children Who Miss Their Vaccine Appointment

Children who miss their appointments, or are not able to make it for health or other unforeseen circumstances, can cancel their appointments and book a new one.

Potential Side Effects Of Sinovac Vaccine

Most side effects of the Sinovac vaccine are mild and temporary, with recovery in just a few days without treatment.

They include pain and swelling at the injection site, fever, headache, nausea, diarrhoea, joint pain, cough, chills, sore throat and runny nose.

When Can Infected Children Get Vaccinated?

Children can get vaccinated against COVID-19, after they fully recover from COVID-19 – at least 14 days after they are infected, and have already completed their isolation.

Read more : When Can You Get Vaccinated After COVID-19 Infection?

 

Should You Get Sinovac Vaccine For 5-11 Yo Kids?

This conditional approval of the Sinovac vaccine will be a relief for many parents who have been holding out for an alternative to the Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine, and spur vaccination rates.

Back in October 2021, the Malaysia Ministry of Health (KKM) ran a Phase 3 clinical trial to determine the efficacy of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for children 3-11 years in age.

However, they did not reveal what was the efficacy of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for the 5-11 year old age group, or how it performed against the Omicron variant.

We do know that the adult dose was only 50.4% efficacious in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 from the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and that it has zero efficacy against the Omicron variant (see link and table below).

Read more : What HKU Study Revealed About Pfizer / Sinovac vs. Omicron

COVID-19
Variant
Seropositive Rate MN Titer (GMT)
Pfizer Sinovac Pfizer Sinovac
HKU691 Omicron 20% 0% 5.43 Min.
HKU344-R346K
Omicron
24% 0% 6.42 Min.
Delta 100% 68% 124.7 10.3
Beta 100% 0% 25.7 Min.
Alpha 100% 100% 229.4 21.7

It seems very improbable that the same vaccine would impart better efficacy in children, more so against the Delta or Omicron variants.

Until there are good peer-reviewed Phase 3 results of the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine for 5-11 year-old children, I believe it is far more prudent to vaccinate our children with the Pfizer COMIRNATY paediatric vaccine.

At least the Pfizer paediatric COVID-19 vaccine has been proven in a Phase 3 trial to be 90.7% efficacious in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

If you want the best protection for your child, get the new Pfizer vaccine for kids. Only consider the Sinovac vaccine if your child has an adverse reaction to the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Malaysia Approves Sinovac Covid-19 Vaccine For 5-11 Yo Kids

Malaysia just approved the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine for 5-11 year-old kids!

Here is what you need to know!

 

Malaysia Approves Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine For 5-11 Yo Kids!

On 3 March 2022, the Malaysia Health Ministry (KKM) announced that the 370th Drug Control Authority meeting has agreed to give conditional approval to the Sinovac CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine for use in 5-11 year-old children.

The conditional approval is for CoronaVac Suspension for Injection COVID-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell) manufactured by both Sinovac Life Sciences Co. Ltd. in China, as well as Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn. Bhd. in Malaysia.

This makes the Sinovac CoronaVac the second COVID-19 vaccine to be approved in Malaysia for children 5 to 11 years in age, after the Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine on 6 January 2022.

 

Should You Get Sinovac Vaccine For 5-11 Yo Kids?

This conditional approval will be a relief for many parents who have been holding out for an alternative to the Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine, and spur vaccination rates.

Back in October 2021, the KKM ran a Phase 3 clinical trial to determine the efficacy of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for children 3-11 years in age.

However, the Malaysia Ministry of Health did not reveal what was the efficacy of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine for the 5-11 year old age group, or how it performed against the Omicron variant.

We do know that the adult dose was only 50.4% efficacious in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 from the original SARS-CoV-2 virus, and that it has zero efficacy against the Omicron variant (see link and table below).

Read more : What HKU Study Revealed About Pfizer / Sinovac vs. Omicron

COVID-19
Variant
Seropositive Rate MN Titer (GMT)
Pfizer Sinovac Pfizer Sinovac
HKU691 Omicron 20% 0% 5.43 Min.
HKU344-R346K
Omicron
24% 0% 6.42 Min.
Delta 100% 68% 124.7 10.3
Beta 100% 0% 25.7 Min.
Alpha 100% 100% 229.4 21.7

It seems unlikely that the same vaccine would impart better efficacy in children, more so against the Delta or Omicron variants.

Until there are good peer-reviewed Phase 3 results of the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine for 5-11 year-old children, I believe it is far more prudent to vaccinate our children with the Pfizer COMIRNATY paediatric vaccine.

At least the Pfizer paediatric COVID-19 vaccine has been proven in a Phase 3 trial to be 90.7% efficacious in preventing symptomatic COVID-19 infections.

I believe KKM will continue to use the superior Pfizer vaccine in the PICKids vaccination program, while allowing hesitant parents to get the Sinovac vaccine for their children through private clinics and hospitals.

This may be the best way forward for everyone.

 

Please Support My Work!

Support my work through a bank transfer /  PayPal / credit card!

Name : Adrian Wong
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Is Sinovac + Pfizer Combo Less Effective Against Omicron?

Was the combination of Sinovac and Pfizer proven to be less effective against the Omicron variant of COVID-19?

Let’s take a look at the claim, and find out what the facts really are!

 

Claim : Sinovac + Pfizer Combo Proven Less Effective Against Omicron

On 9 February 2022, The Edge posted an article with the title “Combination of Sinovac and Pfizer proven less effective to fight Omicron, says Pharmaniaga“.

The article covers Pharmaniaga’s statement which suggested that a third dose of Sinovac (of which they are the licensed distributor) is better than the Pfizer booster dose.

Let me share the relevant parts of the article, with key segments in bold. It’s a long read, so you can skip to the next section for the facts.

Pharmaniaga Bhd, citing a study conducted by Yale University, said that two doses of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine with a Pfizer-BioNTech booster dose are less effective and produces a lower immune response against the Omicron variant compared with other strains.

On the other hand, Pharmaniaga, which is the licensed distributor of Sinovac vaccine in Malaysia, highlighted that a separate research by Sinovac Biotech Ltd shows that three doses of Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine produced higher neutralising antibodies in 95% of recipients compared with 3.3% by the second dose against a variant of concern (VOC), including Omicron.

 

Truth : Pfizer Booster Is Superior To Sinovac Booster Against Omicron

I have not read the actual Pharmaniaga statement, because it is still not available on their website.

However, I had earlier written about the Yale University study, and the statement as shared by The Edge appears to misrepresent what the study actually said.

It also appears to ignore what other studies have said about the poor efficacy of the Sinovac vaccine, including their own Phase 3 trial results.

Let’s go through the claims, and see what the facts really are…

Fact #1 : All Vaccines Are Less Effective Against Omicron

Because it has so many mutations, the Omicron variant is more able to escape the antibody protection that vaccines offer. This is true for all COVID-19 vaccines, not just the Pfizer vaccine.

It seems rather disingenuous for Pharmaniaga to point out that the Pfizer booster dose is less effective against Omicron, compared to other variants… when that is the case for all other vaccines, including Sinovac.

Fact #2 : Booster Dose Will Always Raise Antibody Levels

A booster dose is like a refresher course for your immune system. It will always boost antibody levels against COVID-19.

So the “separate research by Sinovac” themselves (instead of a neutral third party) only tells us that their booster dose is doing what other booster doses are doing – increasing antibody levels.

Abuthen? Did you expect a different result?

Fact #3 : What They Didn’t Say Is Interesting…

You can pick up more information if you note what Pharmaniaga did not say, assuming The Edge did not leave out anything pertinent.

For example, Pharmaniaga did not mention how much was the increase in antibody levels. Why not?

Neither did they confirm that the higher level was sufficient to protect against the Omicron variant. Why not?

They also conspicuously did not claim that the Sinovac booster dose is more effective than the Pfizer booster dose against the Omicron variant. Why not?

Fact #4 : Pfizer Booster Greatly Improves Protection

The Yale University study showed that two doses of Sinovac with a Pfizer booster dose gives protection equivalent to two mRNA vaccine doses.

However, the Pharmaniaga statement left out the very pertinent fact of what that actually meant :

  • 10.1X higher NAb levels against ancestral (original) virus : 
  • 6.3X higher NAb levels against Delta variant : 

The study also showed that two doses of Sinovac with a Pfizer booster offered 40% better protection against Omicron than two doses of the mRNA vaccines.

In other words, the Pfizer booster dose greatly improves on the mediocre protection offered by the Sinovac vaccine, but it may not be at par with 3-doses of other vaccines.

Read more : Why Sinovac Recipients May Need Two Pfizer Booster Doses!

Fact #5 : Cross Protection Not Seen With Sinovac Vaccine

According to Pharmaniaga, the Yale University study showed that no cross protection (hybrid immunity) was seen in Sinovac recipients who receive a Pfizer booster dose.

That is absolutely correct, but it does not mean what they think it means.

Professor Iwasaki specifically pointed out, “Prior infection only synergies with the mRNA vax to elevate broadly neutralizing Ab but not with inactivated vax. This may relate to the persistent GC (Germinal Centre) responses in mRNA vax”.

In other words, this synergistic boost in antibody levels from a COVID-19 infection is only seen with mRNA vaccines like the Pfizer COMIRNATY, but not seen with inactivated virus vaccines like the Sinovac vaccine.

Let me put it plainly – the Yale study showed that if you want cross protection (hybrid immunity), you will get it with the Pfizer vaccine, but not with the Sinovac vaccine.

Fact #6 : Pfizer Superior To Sinovac Against Beta, Delta + Omicron

A recent Hong Kong University (HKU) study showed that while the Pfizer vaccine is less effective against Omicron, the Sinovac vaccine is worse.

  • Sinovac vaccine antibodies were completely unable to bind to the Beta and Omicron variants.
  • Sinovac vaccine antibodies were only able to bind to the Delta variant in 68% of individuals.

Read more : Pfizer / Sinovac vs. Omicron : What HKU Study Just Revealed!

COVID-19
Variant
Seropositive Rate
Pfizer Sinovac
Alpha 100% 100%
Beta 100% 0%
Delta 100% 68%
Omicron 20% – 24% 0%

Incidentally, the Yale University study also pointed out that there was NO detectable neutralisation against the Omicron variant in people who received two doses of the Sinovac vaccine.

Even Pharmaniaga themselves inadvertently confirmed it, when their statement mentioned that only 3.3% of people vaccinated with 2 doses of Sinovac had neutralising antibodies against variants including Omicron.

Fact #7 : 3X Sinovac Doses Not Sufficient Against Omicron

A joint study by Hong Kong University (HKU) and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) recently showed that 3 doses of the Sinovac vaccine does not provide sufficient protection against Omicron.

  • Three doses of the Pfizer vaccine offer the highest level of protection against Omicron.
  • A Pfizer booster dose given to those who received two Sinovac vaccine doses obtain good protective antibody levels against Omicron.
  • Three doses of the Sinovac vaccine do not provide sufficient protection against the Omicron variant.
  • Antibody levels of three doses of the Sinovac vaccine were roughly equal to two doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

Read more : Pfizer vs. Sinovac : Which Is Better Against Omicron Variant?

Fact #8 : Sinovac Is Least Efficacious COVID-19 Vaccine

The Sinovac CoronaVac is the least efficacious COVID-19 vaccine, barely qualifying for its EUA/EUL with a 50.4% efficacy rate in its Phase 3 trial.

Back when vaccine supply was extremely limited, some protection was better than nothing at all, which is why health authorities deployed the Sinovac vaccine.

Now that we have supplies of better vaccines – Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, etc., there is no longer any reason to settle for the Sinovac CoronaVac.

It is impossible for the Sinovac vaccine to improve its efficacy against the ancestral (original) COVID-19 virus, and it is certainly ludicrous to suggest that a third dose will boost its efficacy from 50.4% to 94%.

Please listen to advice from health authorities, instead of a vaccine manufacturer and/or its distributor.

CITF-B strongly recommends the Pfizer or AstraZeneca booster dose for Sinovac recipients, because they offer better protection.

Sinovac recipients are at the highest risk of a breakthrough infection, because they have the least protection. So make sure you get the best booster dose you can!

 

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Name : Adrian Wong
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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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Sinovac Booster Dose : Can You Get It? Should You Take It?

Now that the Sinovac booster dose has been approved, can you get it?

If you can’t get it yet, should you WAIT to get a Sinovac booster dose instead of other vaccines?

Updated @ 2021-11-17 : Added Sinovac booster dose approval and updated advice on a Sinovac booster dose.

Updated @ 2021-11-12 : Added more information on Sinovac vaccine efficacy and advice on a Sinovac booster dose.
Originally published @ 2021-11-10

 

Can You Get The Sinovac Booster Dose?

Malaysia started the COVID-19 vaccine booster dose programme on 13 October 2021, targeting those who received the Pfizer vaccine, before being expanded on 22 October 2021 to those who received the Sinovac vaccine.

Since then, many people have been asking if they can get a booster dose of the Sinovac vaccine instead.

The updated answer is SOON, but not yet.

On 17 November 2021, the Malaysia Drug Control Authority (DCA) approved the Sinovac and AstraZeneca booster doses for homologous vaccination.

That means Sinovac and AstraZeneca booster doses will be given to those who earlier received Sinovac and AstraZeneca vaccines respectively.

However, this does NOT mean the Sinovac booster dose is immediately available.

The COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force – Booster (CITF-B) will be targeting specific groups to receive these booster doses, which will be detailed later.

Right now, the COVID-19 Booster Dose programme in Malaysia continues to use the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Even people vaccinated with Sinovac will receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as a booster dose.

If you had earlier received the Sinovac vaccine, and are open to receive the Pfizer booster dose, I highly recommend you get yourself on the standby list ASAP.

If CITF-B eventually decides to give only homologous vaccinations for Sinovac, you will lose your chance to get the Pfizer booster dose.

My advice remains the same – don’t wait for the Sinovac booster dose. Get the Pfizer booster dose if it is offered to you.

It is FAR MORE EFFECTIVE, and gives you a big boost in protection, especially if you received the Sinovac vaccine earlier.

Read more : Malaysia’s COVID-19 Booster Dose Policy Explained!

 

Should You Get The Sinovac Booster Dose?

The Malaysia Health Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, mentioned earlier that people with severe allergies, or who have suffered an allergic reaction to the Pfizer vaccine earlier, may be offered a booster shot of the Sinovac or AstraZeneca vaccine instead.

Now that the Sinovac vaccine has been approved as a booster dose, should you WAIT to get it?

That very much depends on a number of factors.

Are You Allergic To The Pfizer Vaccine?

If you are allergic to the Pfizer vaccine, then you definitely cannot receive a booster dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine.

You will have to get a booster dose of other vaccine types – viral vector vaccines like AstraZeneca or Sputnik V, or inactivated virus vaccines like Sinovac or Sinopharm.

But with so many better vaccine options available out there, Sinovac CoronaVac should be your last choice, not your first.

Read more : Did FDA Panel Reject Pfizer Booster Dose Over Myocarditis?

Are There Better Options?

If you are given the option to switch to Pfizer or AstraZeneca, you should definitely opt for either one over the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine.

Of all the WHO approved vaccines, Sinovac CoronaVac is the least efficacious COVID-19 vaccine, offering just over 50% efficacy against symptomatic COVID-19.

And that was before it was tested against the highly-infectious Delta variant.

In June 2021, Chinese CDC deputy director Dr. Feng Zijian admitted that their inactivated virus vaccines are “less effective” against the Delta variant.

While Sinovac has tried to push their booster dose as a way to shore up the CoronaVac’s efficacy against the Delta variant, it would be foolish to assume that it offers anything more than a temporary boost in relatively ineffective antibodies.

Even China is moving to use mRNA booster doses for those who received Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines, with their own mRNA vaccine called ARCoVAX entering mass production soon.

Read more : Are Chinese Vaccines The Most Effective Vs. Delta Variant?

Sinovac / Sinopharm Should Require Three Doses Minimum

On 12 October 2021, WHO experts recommended that those over 60 who received the Sinovac or Sinopharm’s vaccines should be given a third shot.

They notably refrained from calling it a booster dose, suggesting instead that they should be administered as three doses, instead of the recommended two doses, for a primary series vaccine.

This was precisely the same policy adopted by Singapore on 23 October 2021, when their Ministry of Health declared that three doses of the Sinovac vaccine will be REQUIRED for a person to be considered fully-vaccinated.

In other words – two doses isn’t enough to be considered fully-vaccinated for these inactivated virus vaccines.  They have to be taken as three doses MINIMUM.

Even Malaysia’s RECoVaM data show that the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine is comparatively weak, allowing significantly more breakthrough infections that result in ICU care and deaths.

If you still feel that you prefer to get three Sinovac vaccine doses, instead of using a different vaccine – that’s fine. It is better than not getting a booster shot at all.

The key thing is to GET PROTECTED against COVID-19, by getting fully-vaccinated. If that means three doses of Sinovac, so be it.

My advice remains the same as it did earlier this year. Don’t wait – get the first vaccine (or booster dose) you are offered!

Read more : Why COVID-19 Vaccine Efficacy Does NOT Matter!

 

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Dr. Adrian Wong has been writing about tech and science since 1997, even publishing a book with Prentice Hall called Breaking Through The BIOS Barrier (ISBN 978-0131455368) while in medical school.

He continues to devote countless hours every day writing about tech, medicine and science, in his pursuit of facts in a post-truth world.

 

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1.28 Million Sinovac Vaccine Doses Ready For Distribution!

1.28 million doses of Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine bottled by Pharmaniaga is now ready for distribution!

Here are the latest details…

 

1.28 Million Sinovac Vaccine Doses Ready For Distribution!

Finally, 73 days after Pharmaniaga received 200 litres of the bulk CoronaVac vaccine from Sinovac, the 1.28 million doses they bottled are ready for distribution!

Each single-use vial was bottled in four batches over five days, under NPRA’s scrutiny at the Pharmaniaga LifeScience factory in Puchong, Selangor.

17 quality control tests were conducted after the bottling process for 14 hours a day, before these vaccine doses were approved.

As of yesterday, a total of 1,284,147 doses – enough for about 642,000 people – are ready to be distributed across Malaysia.

Pharmaniaga said that they have the capacity to bottle up to two million doses per month.

 

Pharmaniaga Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine : A Quick Primer!

Sinovac CoronaVac an inactivated virus vaccine made from actual SARS-CoV-2 virus grown in Vero cells, and killed using β-propiolactone.

Once injected into the body, the antigens on the inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus triggers the body’s immune system.

Pharmaniaga LifeScience imported 200 litres of the CoronaVac bulk vaccine, which arrived on 27 February 2021.

Once bottled, those 200 litres of bulk vaccine should produce over 300,000 CoronaVac doses – enough to vaccinate approximately 150,000 people.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin, said that the government is paying Sinovac less for the vaccine because bottling is done by Pharmaniaga.

However, he declined to disclose more information, so it is unknown how much the government is saving, once the costs of Pharmaniaga’s bottling and distribution are included.

Recommended : CoronaVac Vaccine By Sinovac : Your Questions Answered!

 

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Malaysia Approves Sinovac Vaccine Finished By Pharmaniaga!

Malaysia has conditionally approved the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine filled and finished by Pharmaniaga!

Find out this means for the COVID-19 vaccination program in Malaysia!

 

Malaysia Approves Sinovac Vaccine Finished By Pharmaniaga!

On 23 April 2021, the Malaysia Ministry of Health announced that the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine finished by Pharmaniaga LifeScience received conditional approval from the NPRA (National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency).

CoronaVac Suspension for Injection COVID-19 Vaccine (Vero Cell), Inactivated
Registrant : Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn. Bhd.
Manufacturer : Sinovac Life Sciences Co. Ltd., China

This conditional approval would allow the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine filled and finished by Pharmaniaga LifeScience to be used in the Malaysia COVID-19 vaccination program.

 

Pharmaniaga Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine : A Quick Primer!

Sinovac CoronaVac an inactivated virus vaccine made from actual SARS-CoV-2 virus grown in Vero cells, and killed using β-propiolactone.

Once injected into the body, the antigens on the inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus triggers the body’s immune system.

Pharmaniaga LifeScience imported 200 litres of the CoronaVac bulk vaccine, which arrived on 27 February 2021.

Once bottled, those 200 litres of bulk vaccine should produce over 300,000 CoronaVac doses – enough to vaccinate approximately 150,000 people.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin, said that the government is paying Sinovac less for the vaccine because bottling is done by Pharmaniaga.

However, he declined to disclose more information, so it is unknown how much the government is saving, once the costs of Pharmaniaga’s bottling and distribution are included.

Recommended : CoronaVac Vaccine By Sinovac : Your Questions Answered!

 

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Malaysia Approves AstraZeneca + Sinovac COVID Vaccines!

Malaysia has conditionally approved the AstraZeneca and Sinovac finished vaccines against COVID-19!

This does NOT include the bulk Sinovac vaccine that will undergo fill and finish by Pharmaniaga.

Find out this means for the COVID-19 vaccination program in Malaysia!

 

Malaysia Approves AstraZeneca + Sinovac COVID Vaccines!

On 2 March 2021, the Malaysia Ministry of Health announced that the AstraZeneca and Sinovac vaccines against COVID-19 received conditional approval.

  1. AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine Solution for Injection
    Registrant : AstraZeneca Sdn. Bhd.
    Manufacturer : Medimmune Pharma B.V., Netherlands
  2. Sinovac CoronaVac Suspension for Injection
    Registrant : Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn. Bhd.
    Manufacturer : Sinovac Life Sciences Co. Ltd., China

These conditional approvals would allow the AstraZeneca and Sinovac finished vaccines to be used in the Malaysia COVID-19 vaccination program.

However, please note that the conditional approval is only for the finished vaccine from Sinovac.

The NPRA is still evaluating the CoronaVac vaccine that is being filled and finished by Pharmaniaga LifeScience Sdn. Bhd.

Hence, the bulk CoronaVac vaccine that recently arrived in Malaysia has NOT been approved for use yet.

They also gave conditional approval to a second source of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

  1. COMIRNATY Concentrate for Dispersion for Injection
    Registrant : Pfizer (M) Sdn. Bhd.
    Manufacturer #1 (drug product and final release) : Pfizer Manufacturing Belgium NV, Puurs, Belgium
    Manufacturer #2 (final release) : BioNTech Manufacturing GmbH, Mainz, Germany

The Pfizer COMIRNATY vaccine had earlier been approved. This additional approval allows vaccine doses from the BioNTech manufacturing facility in Germany to be used in the Malaysia COVID-19 vaccination program.

The NPRA is still evaluating the Sputnik V vaccine, also known as Gam-COVID-Vac, from Russia’s Gamaleya Research Institute.

 

AstraZeneca + Sinovac Vaccines : A Quick Primer!

The AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, codenamed AZD1222, is a viral vector vaccine.

It uses a chimpanzee adenovirus – ChAdOx1 – which has been modified to prevent replication, to introduce a DNA sequence of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein.

Once injected, the vaccine enters the cell and “teaches” it to produce the SARS-CoV-2 spike proteins and express them on its surface.

These spike proteins triggers the immune response to create antibodies that will protect you against the real SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine, branded CoronaVac, is an inactivated virus vaccine.

It uses actual SARS-CoV-2 virus grown in Vero cells, and then killed using β-propiolactone.

Once injected into the body, the antigens on the inactivated SARS-CoV-2 virus triggers the body’s immune system.

Recommended : CoronaVac Vaccine By Sinovac : Your Questions Answered!

 

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Sinovac Vaccine Arrives In Malaysia, But Not Approved Yet

The first batch of the Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine – CoronaVac – just arrived in Malaysia.

There was not much fanfare, because the Sinovac vaccine has NOT actually been approved for use in Malaysia.

 

Sinovac Vaccine Arrives In Malaysia!

The first batch of the Sinovac vaccine – CoronaVac – arrived at the KL International Airport aboard MH319 at 8:47 AM on 27 February 2021.

Unlike the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine, the Ministry of Health obtained CoronaVac through Pharmaniaga Lifescience Sdn Bhd – an intermediary company.

Hence, the Sinovac vaccine arrived in the form of 200 litres of CoronaVac bulk vaccine, which would then have to be bottled by Pharmaniaga.

Once bottled, these 200 litres of bulk vaccine should produce over 300,000 CoronaVac doses – enough to vaccinate approximately 150,000 people.

The Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Khairy Jamaluddin, said that the government is paying Sinovac less for the vaccine because bottling is done by Pharmaniaga.

However, he declined to disclose more information, so it is unknown how much the government is saving, once the costs of Pharmaniaga’s bottling and distribution are included.

 

Sinovac Vaccine Not Approved In Malaysia Just Yet

While the CoronaVac vaccine has arrived in Malaysia, we should point out that it has not been approved by the National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA).

Therefore, the CoronaVac vaccine will not be used just yet in the Malaysia COVID-19 vaccination program.

According to the Science, Technology and Innovation Minister, Khairy Jamaluddin, this is because the CoronaVac vaccine has not been bottled.

One of the criteria for approval by the NPRA is the evaluation of the bottling process by Pharmaniaga. Until that happens, the CoronaVac vaccine cannot be approved for use in Malaysia.

It should be pointed out that China only just approved this Sinovac vaccine for general use on 6 February 2021.

 

Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine : A Quick Primer

Developed by Sinovac, CoronaVac is an inactivated virus vaccine – an older method of creating vaccines.

The SARS-CoV-2 viruses are cultured (grown) in Vero cells, and inactivated (killed) before being administered as a vaccine.

The CoronaVac vaccine only needs to be refrigerated at 2–8 °C (36–46 °F), which makes it easy to distribute.

This is a 2-dose vaccine, which the second dose delivered 14 days after the first.

Its Brazil clinical trial results showed that the CoronaVac vaccine was 50.4% effective in preventing COVID-19, just crossing the 50% mark for regulatory approval.

It was about 78% effective in preventing “mild to severe” COVID-19 disease, which is nevertheless good news.

Recommended : CoronaVac Vaccine By Sinovac : Your Questions Answered!

 

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