News & Politics

World Health Organization Buys 550 Million Doses of Chinese Vaccines That Don't Work

Elizabeth Dalziel

The World Health Organization’s Covax international vaccine distribution program has purchased 550 million doses of the Sinopharm and Sinovax vaccines from China. Word is that 110 million doses will be made available immediately by Gavi, a public-private partnership that purchases vaccines from rich countries and gives them to the poor.

The only problem is that the two Chinese vaccines don’t appear to be very effective in stopping the spread of Covid-19. The data from Chinese studies on their vaccine’s efficacy is suspect, as Jim Geraghty points out.

You remember Sinopharm, right? That’s the Chinese-made vaccine that trials found prevents hospitalization 79 percent of the time! Oh, just note that “the trial was not designed and powered to demonstrate efficacy against severe disease in persons with comorbidities, in pregnancy, or in persons aged 60 years and above.” So, we’re not sure how effective the vaccine at protecting people who are old or who have comorbidities, which are admittedly two of the groups most vulnerable to COVID-19. Look at the bright side though: Sinopharm keeps four out of five young healthy people out of the hospital!

And then there’s Sinovac, which is like Sinopharm, just, well, not as effective. That’s the vaccine which Brazil’s Butantan Institute found had an efficacy of 51 percent against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, and it is slightly less effective against two of the variants.

Gao Fu, the director of China’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said of the vaccines back in April: “The efficacy of [the] existing vaccines is not high… The levels of antibodies generated by our vaccines are lower than mRNA vaccines and the efficacy data are also lower. I think it is a natural conclusion that our inactivated vaccines and adenovirus vectored vaccines are less effective than mRNA vaccines.”

The next day, Mr. Gao was forced to retract that statement.

The proof is in real-world trials from nations that have purchased more than a billion doses of the Chinese vaccines — and most are regretting it.

New York Times:

Mongolia promised its people a “Covid-free summer.” Bahrain said there would be a “return to normal life.” The tiny island nation of the Seychelles aimed to jump-start its economy.

All three put their faith, at least in part, in easily accessible Chinese-made vaccines, which would allow them to roll out ambitious inoculation programs when much of the world was going without.

But instead of freedom from the coronavirus, all three countries are now battling a surge in infections.

Even in highly vaccinated countries, the number of infections per thousand citizens as of the week of July 6 shows that the Chinese vaccines aren’t helping much.


CNBC identified 36 countries with more than 1,000 weekly new confirmed cases per million people as of July 6, using figures from Our World in Data, which compiles information from sources including the World Health Organization, governments and researchers at the University of Oxford. CNBC then identified countries among those 36 where more than 60% of the population has received at least one dose of Covid vaccine.

Those countries numbered six, and five of them use Chinese vaccines as a significant part of their national inoculation programs:

The WHO says that even being jabbed with ineffective vaccines is better than not getting any at all, but the WHO isn’t concerned about the efficacy of a drug as much as it wishes to promote China’s vaccine diplomacy. Beijing has staked a lot on wanting to be seen as the world’s savior. And with the help of the WHO and other lackeys, they are making good progress.