China has administered over a billion COVID-19 vaccine doses in the country. It has also exported its vaccines -- Sinopharm and Sinovac -- to around 90 countries in the world. These vaccines have been approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use.
However, many of these countries are now battling a spread of COVID-19 infections. Chile, Bahrain, Mongolia and Seychelles are among the top 10 countries with the worst COVID-19 outbreaks as recently as the third week of June. Others such as the UAE and Indonesia are witnessing a fresh spike in cases.
According to data sourced from the WHO website, Chile has a total of 1,522,223 COVID cases and 5,205 cases were reported in the last 24 hours as of June 22; Bahrain (cumulative 263,295 cases and 403 cases in last 24 hours as of June 22); Mongolia (cumulative 95,819 cases and 2,268 reported in last 24 hours as of June 22); and Seychelles (cumulative 14,620 cases and 71 cases in last 24 hours as of June 22).
On June 11, Chile announced a lockdown in its capital Santiago due to rising COVID-19 cases, despite nearly 60 percent of the country being fully vaccinated, reported BBC. In fact, Chile had released the findings of a study (spanning 10 million people) in April 2021, which showed that Sinovac vaccine reduced deaths by 80 percent. But it witnessed a surge in cases soon after that despite being one of the world’s most highly vaccinated countries.
Seychelles, which relied mostly on Sinopharm, has more than 716 cases per million. Comparatively, Israel (which has the second-highest vaccination rate in the world) reported 4.95 new COVID-19 cases per million after its citizens were given the Pfizer vaccine.
Mongolia vaccinated 52 percent of its population using Chinese vaccines but recorded 2,400 new infections on June 20, quadrupling from 30 days before.
Indonesia reported that 350 plus doctors and healthcare workers were recently infected with COVID-19 and its new variants despite being fully vaccinated with Sinovac.
Around 50-68 percent of the people of Seychelles, Chile, Bahrain and Mongolia were fully inoculated with Chinese vaccines, according to Our World in Data, a data-tracking project.
Bahrain and the UAE were the first two countries to approve the Sinopharm shot, even before late stage clinical trial data was released.
A New York Times report cites examples from several such countries, which suggest that Chinese vaccines may not have been very effective at preventing the spread of the virus, especially the new variants.
China's Sinopharm vaccine has an efficacy rate of 78.1 percent while the Sinovac vaccine has an efficacy rate of 51 percent, according to available data. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines have efficacy rates of more than 90 percent, as per data.
Cases in the US have dropped 94 percent since last six months as about 45 percent of the population is fully vaccinated, mostly with vaccines by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
However, China's foreign ministry has denied any link between the recent COVID outbreaks in these countries and its vaccines. It cited the WHO as saying that vaccination rates in certain countries had not reached optimum levels to prevent infection peak, and that such countries needed to continue to maintain controls, according to NYT.
Earlier, Chinese President Xi Jinping cited vaccine diplomacy and promised to deliver Chinese vaccines, which could be easily stored and transported across the world. China has administered more than a billion (100 crore) doses of its COVID-19 vaccines as of June 19, a key milestone in the world’s largest inoculation drive.
(Edited by : Shoma Bhattacharjee)
First Published: IST