Chinese coronavirus vaccine faces questions over efficacy

Speaking at the World Health Assembly last year, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for “solidarity and cooperation” in developing coronavirus vaccines, “our most powerful weapon” for tackling the pandemic.

But with Chinese medical company Sinovac facing questions over the efficacy of its coronavirus shot, the country’s propaganda apparatus has apparently forgotten Xi’s comments. Instead, it is choosing to attack other vaccines — a dangerous gambit that could risk undermining overall confidence in mass vaccinations just as the world desperately needs people to get inoculated.

Then came the results from Brazil. Late-stage trials of the Sinovac candidate in the South American country reported an efficacy rate not of 78%, but 50.38% — barely above the 50% efficacy threshold set by the World Health Organization for approval. The true efficacy rate of the vaccine is still unclear. As well as the initial 78% figure, Turkey, which approved the Sinovac shot for emergency use last week, reported an efficacy of 91.25%, while Indonesia reported 65.3%. Brazil’s data also suggests a greater level of efficacy in some cases than others.

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