Chinese-Made Vaccines Met With Skepticism Internationally

January 29, 2021 Updated: February 16, 2021

As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, the Chinese regime has been stepping up efforts in exporting its vaccines to other nations, consistently pursuing “vaccine diplomacy.” However, China-made vaccines have encountered global resistance due to the lack of transparent data on their efficacy.

On Jan. 20, China’s foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying claimed at a press briefing that at least 40 countries expressed an interest in introducing China-made COVID-19 vaccines. She also said that some foreign leaders had already received Chinese shots, including Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Indonesian President Joko Widodo.

Epoch Times Photo
Hua Chunying, spokeswoman of China’s Foreign Ministry, speaks at a regular news conference. (Jason Lee/Reuters)

The Chinese regime repeatedly touted its vaccines’ availability and affordability at a joint press conference led by the State Council on Oct. 20, 2020. 

A number of middle- and low-income countries and regions have said they will purchase Chinese vaccines, attracted to their lower prices compared to those manufactured by European and American drug companies.

Most Chinese vaccines are still in clinical trial. 

Brazil’s health regulator recently found the vaccine developed by state-run drug company Sinovac to be only 50.4 percent effective, just passing the 50 percent threshold set by the World Health Organization for regulatory approval. The figure was far lower than the 78 percent efficacy rate that the drug maker initially claimed.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has criticized China for its vaccine efficacy and questioned their credibility.

Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro delivers a speech at an event in Brasilia on Dec. 10, 2018. (Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images)
Then-Brazilian President-elect Jair Bolsonaro delivers a speech at an event in Brasilia on Dec. 10, 2018. (Evaristo Sa/AFP/Getty Images)

In the Philippines, Risa Hontiveros, an opposition lawmaker, criticized Duterte’s administration for continuing to “cram their preference for Chinese-made vaccines down the public’s throat, without emergency use approval and with inconsistent data.”

A  Dec. 10, 2020 report by AFP warned against Beijing’s”charm offensive,” noting that Beijing’s campaign to promote its vaccines was partly to deflect anger and criticism over China’s initial mishandling of the pandemic, and to cement its influence in Asia and beyond.

In Singapore, Bilahari Kausikan, former foreign ministry official, said: “Right now, I would not take any Chinese vaccine, because there’s insufficient data,” according to a Jan. 25 New York Time report.

On Jan. 15, YouGov, a London-headquartered research data and analytics group, released its findings in a survey that asked 19,000 people from 17 countries about their attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines made in 12 countries, including the United States, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Australia, Russia, China, Iran, Singapore, South Korea, and India. The participants were asked how comfortable they felt about vaccines in each country. China scored -19 on average, ranking second-to-last, behind Iran (-30).

Vaccinating People Before Trials Are Complete

Since July last year, the Chinese regime has required millions of citizens to take domestically made vaccines for “emergency use,” despite the fact that drug companies have yet to complete testing at the time. To date, only one developed by Sinopharm has been approved by Chinese regulators thus far.

In an October 2020 Chinese BBC report, biochemistry professor Jin Dong-Yan at the University of Hong Kong’s medical school said that he was worried about the safety of unverified Chinese vaccines.

Jin believed that China had failed to meet medical ethical requirements and argued that China had misused the definition of “emergency use.”

He also noted: “China is overturning its own review system for medicines and vaccines; it is ruining its pharmaceutical and vaccine industry, as the former Soviet Union did, or China did prior to its economic reforms [in the late 1970s].”

Meanwhile, the expert warned that it could be risky for healthy people to take vaccines that have not completed clinical trial, noting that they could still get infected with COVID-19 and even develop into a serious condition.

Had they not taken the shots, since they are relatively young and physically strong, they would likely develop mild or zero symptoms if infected, he said.