Vaccines do not have a nationality and we feel safe after receiving Chinese COVID-19 vaccine: expats in Shanghai
Published: Jan 18, 2021 12:46 AM Updated: Jan 19, 2021 04:02 PM

Maxim Shishkov, from Russia, gets COVID-19 vaccinated in Shanghai. Photo: Courtesy of Maxim Shishkov

Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and East China's Zhejiang Province are pushing forward the mass inoculation of COVID-19 vaccines step by step for key groups including people in the cold-chain industries and public service sectors, with the goal of vaccinating 50 million people ahead of the 2021 Spring Festival holidays.

Six foreign teachers working in Shanghai International Studies University (SISU) also received the China-made COVID-19 vaccine to ensure they are protected. Despite hearing different voices about side effects from the new vaccine, they said it's necessary to get vaccinated.

For the earliest possible victory over the COVID-19 pandemic, it's necessary to form a "collective immunity," and is especially "important for people in those professions that communicate with a large number of people, including teachers," Maxim Shishkov, from Russia, an associate professor of the School of Russian and Eurasian Studies, SISU, who came to China in September, 2016, told the Global Times.

Five COVID-19 vaccines globally have revealed their efficacy against the coronavirus, including two Chinese vaccines developed by Sinovac and Sinopharm. Sinovac's COVID-19 vaccine is 100 percent effective in preventing severe and moderate infections, according to researchers in Brazil. 

There are different statistics for "the efficacy of the vaccine" in different countries, Raymond Kolter, a SISU teacher from the US told the Global Times, adding that it depends on what type of test was used. 

"It depends on the wide range of the virus in the public, and who got tested - doctors, nurses or the general public," Kolter said.  

Vaccines have no nationalities

Tomasz Ewertowski, another SISU teacher from Poland, told the Global Times that he considers vaccines "one of the greatest inventions of humanity." He has taken the flu vaccine every few years.

"The vaccines don't have nationalities," Ewertowski said, noting that it doesn't matter if they are Chinese, Polish, American, Indian or Zimbabwean vaccines, as long as they have been properly tested and accepted by regulators, "I feel safe," he said.

His colleague Jagna Malejka, also from Poland echoed and told the Global Times that she "had no doubts" about the vaccines and was very happy to get the opportunity to take it.

There had been a lot of rumors on social media about China's vaccine, but "I believe that lots of scientists have been working on investigating this kind of vaccine," Benjamin Hisung Nam, a SISU teacher from the US, told the Global Times. "I trusted it and decided to get the vaccine."

"Everybody may have different perceptions. Even some Chinese people may be cautious about it, and we foreigners don't know much about it," said Hisung.

Although he's not an expert in medical science or life science, he still wants to trust this vaccine. "I don't regret my decision to get vaccinated here in China," Hisung said. "It makes me feel very comfortable and safe when I go outside and interact with people."

Confidence over Chinese vaccines

"I have confidence in Chinese COVID-19 vaccines, or I would have not been vaccinated in China," Ylenia Morando from Italy, also a teacher from SISU told the Global Times.

"I believe science as well as global doctors' and researchers' efforts," Morando said.

All the six teachers interviewed by the Global Times showed their confidence in Chinese vaccines and have received their second injections on January 14 and 15. 

After the first dose at the end of December, 2020, Kolter from the US was a little fatigued, and this time he felt just a little dizzy. But the vaccination process was "not painful, it was very professional," Kolter said. 

After they received injections, they were asked to wait for 30 minutes for medical observation purposes in a special area. Ewertowski and Malejka, told the Global Times that they were asked to not drink alcohol or eat spicy food, and added that the whole process was quite normal and well-organized.

Both of them said they will recommend Chinese vaccines to their family if they have a chance. "My parents need this vaccine instead of me now because their age makes coronavirus much more dangerous for them," Ewertowski said. "If it is a working vaccine, and if it can make my family safe, of course I would recommend such a vaccine."