Italy Rejects Chinese COVID-19 Vaccines as China Admits They’re Less Effective Against Delta Variant

By Alex Wu
Alex Wu
Alex Wu
Alex Wu is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights, and international relations.
June 27, 2021 Updated: June 28, 2021

Italy has joined a growing list of countries casting doubt on Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi told reporters at the end of a European Union summit on June 22: “The Chinese vaccine … has shown itself not to be adequate. You can see that from Chile’s experience of tackling the epidemic.”

More than half of the Chilean population has received the Chinese-made Sinovac vaccines, yet the efficacy rate has reportedly been 16 percent after the first dose and 67 percent after a second dose. Chile is among the top 10 countries worst-hit by COVID-19.

On June 24, Feng Zijian, researcher and former deputy director at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, admitted in an interview on Chinese state-run media CCTV that the Chinese-made vaccines don’t produce enough antibodies and are less effective against the Delta variant—formerly known as the Indian variant—of the virus.

The Delta variant caused 85 percent of the infections in the recent surge of COVID-19 in China’s Guangdong Province, despite tens of millions of local residents being vaccinated.

Chinese vaccines haven’t been approved for use in the United States or the European Union. The Chinese vaccines are also excluded from the EU’s digital vaccination pass program. The Chinese regime has announced retaliatory measures, denying entry for travelers who haven’t been inoculated with Chinese vaccines and not recognizing vaccination with non-Chinese vaccines. The measures have prevented many overseas Chinese citizens from returning to the country.

Despite their low efficacy and lack of transparency in trial data, the World Health Organization recently approved both the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines for emergency use.

That decision comes as more countries around the world are casting doubt on the Chinese vaccines.

On June 17, more than 350 doctors and health workers in Indonesia were infected with COVID-19, despite having received the Sinovac vaccine. Dozens of them have been hospitalized, casting serious doubt over the vaccine’s efficacy, especially against more infectious variants of the virus. Indonesia has purchased and administered China’s vaccine to a large number of its citizens.

The United Arab Emirates made the Sinopharm vaccine available to the general public in December 2020, and has been offering third Sinopharm doses since March, after it was discovered that the vaccines hadn’t produced enough antibodies for some recipients.

In March, Gao Fu, director of China’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said that a third dose of Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines may be needed to boost their efficacy.

In April, at a Chinese national conference on vaccines and health, Gao admitted that China’s vaccines, which use an inactivated virus, provide low protection against infections and that their effectiveness might be improved by mixing different types of vaccines made with different technologies, such as mRNA used by Western vaccines.

In the same month, the UAE started offering the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine as a booster to those inoculated with Chinese vaccines.

Epoch Times Photo
A young woman receives a COVID-19 vaccine at the Bahrain International Exhibition and Convention Center in the Bahraini capital of Manama on Dec. 24, 2020. Bahrain has approved both the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and another developed by Chinese firm Sinopharm. (Mazen Mahdi/AFP via Getty Images)

By early June, 47 percent of Bahrain’s population had been fully vaccinated, with 60 percent having received the Sinopharm shot. However, the number of confirmed cases is now at a record high in Bahrain, and since the end of May, officials have been offering the Pfizer vaccine as a booster shot to those already fully vaccinated with the Sinopharm.

In early June, a clinical study in Serbia reported that 30 percent of those aged 65 or above have produced no antibodies after receiving the Sinopharm vaccine. Serbia is the first European country to use China’s vaccines, despite them not being approved by the European Medicines Agency.

Many countries in Latin America, Africa, and Asia, plus Hungary and Serbia in Europe, which are all administering the Chinese vaccine, are now seeing surges of COVID-19 infections.

According to Our World in Data, countries such as the Seychelles, Chile, Bahrain, and Mongolia, which have about 50 to 68 percent of their populations fully inoculated with Chinese vaccines, are among the top 10 countries with the worst COVID-19 outbreaks.

Alex Wu
Alex Wu
Alex Wu is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights, and international relations.