Brazilian researchers say the Sinovac vaccine from China is only 50% effective against the coronavirus, potentially undercutting Indonesia and other countries that are using it to launch massive inoculation campaigns.
The 50.4% efficacy is high enough for licensure, but it’s far lower than the 65-91% efficacy demonstrated in other countries’ trials.
Brazil researchers previously said the Sinovac shots were 78% effective. The new results are disappointing and could complicate Beijing’s push to vaccinate millions of its own citizens ahead of the Lunar New Year and use Chinese vaccines as a diplomatic tool.
Multiple countries have ordered about 380 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine.
Indonesian President Joko Widodo received the vaccine on television on Wednesday to spur confidence but some of the 1.5 million health workers that are first in line told Reuters they’re not jazzed about the jabs.
“I’m not rejecting vaccines, I’m rejecting Sinovac’s,” Yusdeny Lanasakti, an East Java doctor, told the wire service.
Indonesia used data indicating 65% efficacy in approving the vaccine, while Turkish regulators registered a whopping 91% efficacy.
American experts say they’d like to see more transparent data from the Chinese.
The U.S. is using two messenger-RNA vaccines, from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, that were roughly 95%-effective in trials.
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