China’s Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine is performing poorly, and a recent study has revealed some alarming issues. First of all, China’s “vaccine diplomacy” was an integral part of the country’s effort to improve its image after their disastrous steps in covering up the virus and then failing to contain it in any meaningful way.
China was already talking about giving the vaccines away in May of 2020 – just a few months into the pandemic, Chinese president Xi Jinping told the World Health Assembly that the vaccines were a “global public good.” However, as the publication The Diplomat noted in March of this year, “It does not necessarily follow that Chinese vaccines would be provided for free” and that there were some countries that outright purchased them or were even offered a loan.
Considering that these countries could supply them, that was apparently enough for Bahrain, who evidently purchased the inoculations from China. This wasn’t because they were cost-effective; there was an April article by the British Medical Association that explained that they could cost $19 to $36 per dose versus $2.50 to $6 per dose for the Astrazeneca vaccine.
Unfortunately, there is just one small problem: China’s vaccine just isn’t very effective, and that is a very serious hitch in China’s vaccine diplomacy.
A massive Bahraini study in the Jerusalem Post on Friday showed that Sinopharm was the least effective of the four types that were used in the Middle Eastern country, including Sinopharm, Astrazeneca, Pfizer, and Russia’s Sputnik V Vaccine.
“According to the study, which included the data of more than one million people, the Chinese-developed Sinopharm vaccine was less suitable for those over 50 years old, but in general, it reduced the death rate to a quarter compared to those who did not receive any vaccine dose,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
There were 976 deaths in Bahrain due to the vaccine itself, and 112 of these vaccine-related deaths were due to Sinopharm. This discovery is made even worse when you consider that there were just three deaths from Pfizer or Sputnik. Only one person who took Astrazeneca died.
If this were just a matter of half the public receiving Sinopharm over the other vaccine options, that would be bad enough. However, this is more about the fact that if the same amount of people had received all of these vaccines together then they would have ended up with only ten deaths and just three patients in the intensive care unit.
When you look at just the hospitalized patients, roughly 1,682 received Sinopharm and 40 received Pfizer. However, if Pfizer had received the same distribution as Sinopharm and the rates had stayed the same, it would mean just 134 hospitalizations.
These disturbing statistics remain similar across the board. There were only nine Sputnik-vaccinated patients who would have passed away if these numbers were true, and only 224 of the vaccinated patients would have ended up in the hospital. If we analyze the statistics by looking at AstraZeneca, there would have been eight fatalities and 349 hospitalizations.
“We believed from the beginning that the vaccine helps curb the spread of the virus, but the main goal of it is to reduce complications in the event of infection and to reduce deaths or hospitalizations,” said Dr. Manaf AlQahtani, infectious disease consultant who’s a member of the team tackling COVID-19 in the Persian Gulf state.
“All vaccines were certainly effective, and at rates that differ from one type to another according to the way it works. According to the study, the death rate among those who did not receive any vaccine compared to those who received the Sinopharm vaccine increased 3.8 times,” he added.
“It cannot be said that the Sinopharm vaccination was a failure, but it was less effective and, in general; with a booster dose it could become more appropriate,” Dr. Rajesh Mundan said. “The picture began to become clearer with the passage of time.”
He continued that “it seems that it is not suitable enough for people over 50 years of age, because of its manufacturing method that relies on traditional methods, and therefore Bahrain needed to give an additional booster dose of another vaccination such as Pfizer.”
He added that the study was accurate: “It is a very accurate study. Bahrain has a sophisticated electronic system that includes all the data accurately. Therefore, as soon as you enter the person’s number, all the data appears to you, and you can benefit from it easily, which made the data analysis of more than a million people possible and more easily available,” he said.
It has been previously reported that the vaccination program in the United Arab Emirates, which was another Middle Eastern Gulf State that used Sinopharm, had to use a booster shot.
“An additional supportive dose of Sinopharm is now available to people who have received the vaccine previously and who have now completed more than six months since the second dose,” the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority tweeted in May.
And what of the Seychelles? This tiny island nation was the most vaccinated country on Earth, but because they used Sinopharm they still had as many as 300 cases per day!
This is also a stunning rebuke of the concept of vaccine diplomacy, because it just goes to show you that yes, you get what you pay for. These “diplomatic” vaccines in China and these Middle Eastern countries just don’t do as well as their Western counterparts.