CHINA / SOCIETY
Chinese regulators make vaccine reviews devoid of political, public pressure: top advisor
Published: Jan 25, 2021 10:13 PM

The COVID-19 vaccine Beijing manufacturing plant of leading Chinese vaccine producer Sinovac Photo: Li Hao/GT



Chinese authorities responsible for drugs approval made review of Chinese vaccine candidates through careful assessments and devoid of political, public pressure, a top Chinese disease control and prevention expert told the Global Times, revealing the rare insight of the process of vaccine approval.

Chinese drug authorities had obtained the final-stage data of Chinese-developed inactivated vaccines as early as late October, ahead of most countries, Shao Yiming, a leading expert advising on China's vaccine research and development, who participated in vaccine data analysis and approval, told the Global Times.

Unlike in the US, Chinese vaccine manufacturers are not allowed to publish data without official approval, so that scientists can have an independent space to make objective decisions over conditional approval free of public pressure, Shao, who was involved in dozens of vaccine R&D consultations since early 2020, told the Global Times.

The Chinese drug regulator issued the conditional market approval of its first coronavirus vaccine, with basic data released to the public, at the end of December, two months after the application.

China's drug regulator has always followed the protocol of "no compromise in standards, no skip or delay in procedures," Shao said, refuting Western media's claim that the Chinese regulator obscured and dragged the approval process. 

"We all work around the clock to review the data and gathered online for discussions even late at night, but we never relax standards to meet public expectations."

In contrast, the vaccine review process in some Western countries such as the US has been going with political pressure - electoral votes - and even pressure of pharmaceutical giants that traditionally dominate the global market. That partly prompted the US Food and Drug Administration panel to speed up the approval process, the expert said.

"Those outside interference made it difficult for the FDA to make a completely independent and rational decision."

The US FDA approved Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on December 11, 2020, only three weeks after it received the application in November 20, according to media reports.


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