China’s southern city of Guangzhou has become the epicenter of a major new coronavirus outbreak. Starting May 31, locals must present a “health code” if they want to leave the city, an indication of a semi-lockdown. At the same time, however, local authorities decided to stop all vaccinations without a sensible explanation.
Guangzhou’s deputy mayor Li Ming announced at the city’s epidemic control press conference on May 31 that mass vaccination against COVID-19 was suspended starting immediately.
According to Li, the decision was based on two concerns: One, a shortage of manpower, as medical staff was needed to administer mass nucleic acid testing. Two, Guangzhou residents now felt an urgency to get vaccinated, and vaccination sites were overcrowded, posing the risk of virus transmission.
However, the true reason why Guangzhou authorities suspended all vaccination could have something to do with the low effectiveness of Chinese-made vaccines––they simply don’t work well.
Chinese Vaccines Have Low Protection Rates
China has vigorously promoted the sale of its Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines all over the world, with some China experts calling it “vaccine diplomacy.” But so far, data reported from various countries doesn’t look good.
On April 29, the entire Thai women’s volleyball team––all athletes, coaches and staff––received their first dose of the Chinese Coxing vaccine. But on May 12, the Thai Volleyball Association announced that four team members were found to be infected with the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus. A subsequent screening of the 37-member team identified 22 additional infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 26.
Furthermore, in December of last year, a whistleblower told Radio Free Asia that more than 300 Chinese workers at the Tianjin Electric Power Construction Company in Pancevo, Serbia tested positive for COVID-19. All of the workers had been vaccinated before leaving China, yet 300 out of the 400 plus employees were infected while working at the construction project in Serbia.
Chinese Vaccine Makers’ History of Corruption
Sinovac Biotech has had numerous bad records in past years. The Washington Post published a long report in December last year, digging up the history of the company bribing China’s Food and Drug Administration in its early years. The report cited public trial records, which showed that the founder and chief executive officer of Sinovac, Yin Weidong, admitted in a court testimony in 2016 that from 2002 to 2011, he had paid bribes to a drug regulatory official in charge of vaccine review and the official’s wife. The official admitted that in return, he accelerated the approval of vaccines developed by Sinovac for Hepatitis A, SARS, Avian Influenza, Foot-and-Mouth Disease, and Influenza A.
At least 20 government officials and hospital administrators in five provinces admitted in court that they had accepted bribes from Sinovac’s employees between 2008 and 2016, according to the Washington Post report.
As for Sinopharm, on Jan. 12 this year, Li Zhiming, chairman of Sinopharm Holdings Co., Ltd., suddenly resigned, stating “personal reasons.” On the same day, Sinopharm announced that its general manager, Li Hui, was also leaving the company for “personal reasons.”
These two resignations happened 13 days after Sinopharm’s vaccine was approved by China’s FDA for conditional marketing, which means it would soon be used for mass inoculation.
Some Chinese expressed their opinion online, saying the two CEOs probably wanted to avoid liabilities in case any problems with the vaccines showed up. Even Chinese news portal Sohu commented that the timing was “very unusual.”
On June 7, Guangzhou city suddenly decided to start offering vaccination appointments again for residents to get their second dose––but only for people in low-risk areas. Residents in medium- and high-risk areas were left to worry and wonder what’s going on.