Chinese Vaccine Falls Short of Hopes

Medical workers load Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines to a storage car before distribution. Surabaya, Indonesia, January 13, 2021.  Image: Robertus Pudyanto/Getty
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Medical workers load Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines to a storage car before distribution. Surabaya, Indonesia, January 13, 2021. Image: Robertus Pudyanto/Getty

A Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine has an efficacy rate just over 50%—far lower than the 78% anticipated, according to a Brazilian clinical trial conducted by São Paulo’s Butantan Institute.
 
The finding dims hopes of a game-changer for low- and middle-income countries. 

At least 10 countries have already ordered more than 380 million doses of CoronaVac, which is cheaper and easier to distribute than Western vaccines.
 
CoronaVac relies on older technology that can weaken the vaccine’s potency—one of the reasons that Americans and Europeans went a different route, according to Cornell’s John Moore. “A well-maintained Ford Model T would probably get you from Wuhan to Beijing, but personally I would prefer a Tesla,” Moore said.
 
Still, Butantan Institute director Dimas Covas said the vaccine is an “excellent” tool for “a country where currently 1,000 people are dying per day.”

The China vaccine news highlights the perilous prospects for LMICs explored by The Economist Intelligence Unit’s Agathe Demarais in a GHN commentary below.

The New York Times

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