Chinese vaccines gain global momentum as Brazil includes Sinovac in its immunization plan

By Liu Caiyu and Hu Yuwei Source: Global Times Published: 2020/12/17 21:01:28

A staff member displays samples of the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine at Sinovac Biotech Ltd., in Beijing on March 16. Photo: Xinhua

Chinese vaccines are gaining momentum as more countries order China-produced COVID-19 vaccines, with Brazil being the latest to put China's Sinovac Biotech vaccines into its national immunization plan.

The COVID-19 vaccines made by Sinovac Biotech have been included in the immunization plan of Brazil, and the Brazilian federal government is expected to purchase 46 million doses, media reports said on Wednesday. 

Natalia Pasternak, a microbiologist and president of the Institute Question of Science in Brazil, told the Global Times that Brazil is very experienced with inactivated virus vaccine production. The professor said that Brazil has the infrastructure and manpower to produce it locally, citing Butantan, one of Brazil's national vaccine plants.

Pasternak also said receiving vaccine has never been an issue for Brazilians, but that perception changed during the pandemic. 

Polls from 2019 showed that 97 percent of the respondents deemed vaccines as safe and important. In 2020, these numbers began to change. A recent national poll showed that one in four Brazilians was afraid to get a COVID-19 shot. 

"Fake news and conspiracy theories, promoted by the Brazilian president himself, certainly contributed to this scenario," the professor said.

Bahraini King Hamad received a vaccine against COVID-19 developed by China's Sinopharm Group on Wednesday, The Jerusalem Post said. On Sunday, the country approved the registration and marketing of the inactivated Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. 

On Thursday, Peru resumed trials of a vaccine from China's Sinopharm after it found the illness of a volunteer was unrelated to the vaccine, the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Four Chinese vaccines had been awarded contracts for nearly 500 million doses in at least 16 countries and regions as of Tuesday, and the number is still growing, media reports said.  

Some representatives from ASEAN members have applauded China's determination to make the vaccines an "accessible and affordable" public good. Malaysia has pinned its hopes on Chinese-developed vaccines for a vital accelerator to boost the regional economy, and Indonesia has closely worked with Sinovac on co-developing an inactivated COVID-19 vaccine in the current phase III clinical trials.

While the safety of China's vaccines is generally recognized by the international community, Chinese cities are mapping out their own vaccine plans. Southwest China's Sichuan Province said it is speeding up efforts in the procurement and stockpiling of vaccines against the novel coronavirus. 

The first round of vaccinations of key populations in Sichuan will be completed by January 15, and all two doses are expected to be finished by February 5, the provincial health authority said on Thursday. 

Sichuan Province has received 118,000 doses of vaccines. More than 46,000 people working in high-risk positions have been vaccinated with the first dose, and some 12,000 people were injected with two does, it said. 


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