Thu, 21 Oct 2021

Beijing [China], July 17 (ANI): China plans to use an mRNA vaccine, co-developed by China's Fosun Pharma and Germany's BioNTech, as a booster shot for those already vaccinated in the country using other Chinese vaccines.

As of July 1, China has administered over 1.2 billion vaccine doses. Despite that, it has no plans to relax its border restrictions until at least 2022, The Diplomat reported. Most of the citizens have received vaccines made by Sinovac and Sinopharm Group. Both these vaccines use inactivated particles of the virus, rather than the newer mRNA technology.

"Chinese authorities plan to use the vaccine, which goes by the brand name Comirnaty, as a booster shot for people who have received inactivated-virus vaccines, people close to regulators told Caixin," according to The Diplomat's report citing Chinese media outlet Caixin.

The Comirnaty vaccine is being commonly used in the US and Europe but Fosun has exclusive rights to manufacture and distribute the vaccine within China.

The BioNTech vaccine, with 95 per cent effectiveness at preventing the virus, is currently awaiting government approval in China. On Thursday, an advisory panel just cleared the vaccine for use, and now it is awaiting final approval from the drugs regulator.

This development comes at a time when countries like Mongolia, Seychelles, and Bahrain had relied on the easily accessible Chinese COVID-19 vaccines to combat the coronavirus pandemic, are now battling a surge in infections.

According to a Nikkei Asia report, the efficacy of the Chinese shots ranges from 50 per cent to almost 80 per cent in trials. The level of effectiveness is significantly lower than the mRNA vaccines developed by Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech.

Examples from several countries suggest that the Chinese vaccines may not be very effective at preventing the spread of the virus, particularly the new variants, reported The New York Times (NYT).

Another example is Indonesia, which is currently the virus hotspot in the Asia-Pacific. Scores of doctors and nurses had been infected with COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated with Sinovac. Due to the ongoing situation, the Indonesian government announced that it will give healthcare workers a third vaccine dose, using the Moderna mRNA vaccine. (ANI)

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