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China Doses Thousands with Unproven COVID-19 Vaccines Having Potentially Harmful Side Effects

By HospiMedica International staff writers
Posted on 29 Sep 2020
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Image: CoronaVac (Photo courtesy of Sinovac Biotech Ltd.)
Image: CoronaVac (Photo courtesy of Sinovac Biotech Ltd.)
China has administered its unproven COVID-19 vaccines to drug company workers, government officials and others before the conclusion of Phase 3 trials, worrying experts about their potential ill effects.

A report by The New York Times reveals that Chinese officials are inoculating tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people with unproven COVID-19 vaccines outside the traditional testing process. In July, China approved three inactivated vaccines for emergency use to vaccinate high-risk groups such as medical staff. Two inactivated COVID-19 vaccines have been developed by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products under the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) affiliated to the China National Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. (Sinopharm Beijing, China). The third COVID-19 vaccine named CoronaVac is from Sinovac Biotech Ltd. (Beijing, China). Another Chinese firm, CanSino Biologics Inc. (Tianjin, China), has begun conducting Phase 3 trials of its COVID-19 vaccine in Saudi Arabia, after completing the first two phases of the human trials in China.

China first began dosing workers at state-owned companies, followed by government officials and vaccine company staff. Chinese officials now plan to inoculate teachers, supermarket employees and people traveling to risky areas abroad with the unproven COVID-19 vaccines. The Chinese government could also consider expanding the scope of people qualified for emergency use and add those who work in markets, transportation and the service industry. However, global experts are worried as no other country has injected people with unproven vaccines outside the usual drug trial process on such a huge scale, states The New York Times report. The unproven vaccines could not only have harmful side effects, but also create a false sense of security and encourage behavior that could result in even more infections. Flawed vaccines can create serious health problems. Broad inoculation campaigns such as these also increase the risk of receiving multiple vaccines, which could adversely impact the immune response.

“It may be three to six months before we get Phase 3 trial results - it’s not that long to wait,” Dr. Raina MacIntyre, who heads the biosecurity program at the Kirby Institute of the University of New South Wales, told The New York Times. “You are potentially muddying the waters for the time when we do have Phase 3 trial data for the best possible vaccine.”

Related Links:
Sinovac Biotech Ltd.
China National Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd.
CanSino Biologics Inc.

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