Italy’s Draghi Dismisses China’s COVID-19 Vaccine, Casts Doubt on Sputnik

Italy’s Draghi Dismisses China’s COVID-19 Vaccine, Casts Doubt on Sputnik
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi attends a joint news conference in Rome, Italy, on June 22, 2021. (Remo Casilli/Reuters)

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said China’s anti-COVID-19 vaccine did not fully work and questioned whether Russia’s Sputnik jab would ever get approval from European regulators.

“The Chinese vaccine ... has shown itself not to be adequate. You can see that from Chile’s experience of tackling the epidemic,” Draghi told reporters at the end of a European Union summit.

Chile has relied heavily on the COVID-19 shot developed by China’s Sinovac, but health authorities in the South American country have questioned how effective it is against more transmissible virus variants and are also looking into how long it remains effective once injected.

A recent study by the University of Chile found that a single dose of Sinovac vaccine is only 3 percent effective in the 28 days between the first and second doses, meaning that the first dose has almost no effect, and people who received the first dose were just as vulnerable to infection as those who didn’t receive any vaccine.

According to the study, within the first two weeks of getting the second Sinovac shot, the vaccine’s efficacy was only 27.7 percent. Two or more weeks after the second dose, the efficacy rate rose to 56.5 percent.

In Brazil, the Instituto Butantan published results of a Sinovac phase 3 clinical study on April 11, showing an efficacy rate of only 50.4 percent, which is similar to the Chilean study.

Draghi also questioned Russia’s Sputnik vaccine.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) had been expected to conclude its review of the Russian jab and issue a decision in May or June. However, approval was delayed because the makers missed a June 10 deadline to submit data, sources told Reuters earlier this month.

“The Russian vaccine Sputnik V has never been able to get approval from EMA and perhaps it never will,” Draghi said.

Reuters contributed to this report.