Pharma companies slam fake ads for COVID-19 circulating on social media
Published: Aug 13, 2020 03:18 PM

The inactivated COVID-19 vaccine production workshop of Sinopharm China National Biotec Group (CNBG) in Beijing Photo: Courtesy of CNBG

Biological product companies told the Global Times on Thursday that their vaccines had not even entered the market, in response to a query about some online advertisements peddling "COVID-19 vaccines" produced by them.

Recently, an advertisement for a "COVID-19 vaccine" has been appearing on some people's WeChat accounts. It claimed that the vaccine will cost 498 yuan ($71.70) per dose and three shots will be enough. 

"Medical workers and those who need to travel abroad will have priority, and the vaccine will be widely used by the end of this year," read the advertisement.

According to pictures circulating online, the "vaccines" were supposedly developed by Beijing-based Sinovac Life Sciences Corp and Wuhan Institute of Biological Products Co.

Sinovac told the Global Times on Wednesday night that they did not produce the vaccines, as their products are still under Phase-III trial in Brazil and Indonesia. 

The Wuhan company also told the Global Times on Wednesday that its product is undergoing Phase-III trials, and it urged the public not to take the bait of such ads. 

Peddling vaccines on social media platforms such as WeChat is also illegal, as the Vaccine Administration Law of China says that apart from disease control and prevention agencies, no institutes or individuals are allowed to provide vaccines to vaccination units. 

China, the US, Russia and some European countries have been carrying out R&D into a COVID-19 vaccine at a similar pace in recent months, and China is likely to stand out after Russia, experts noted.

Confirmed COVID-19 cases exceeded 20 million worldwide as of Wednesday, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).