Some 47 Chinese workers in Uganda inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine allegedly tested positive
Despite apparently being inoculated with China’s vaunted coronavirus vaccines, 47 Chinese workers in Uganda have been diagnosed with the virus, raising questions about the efficacy of the China-made products.
Back in June, long before clinical trials had been completed (currently in Phase Three), two candidates by Sinopharm’s subsidiary China National Biotec Group Company Limited (CNBG) and one by Sinovac Biotech SVA.O were given the green light to be injected into essential workers as part of an emergency use program that began that month. As of November, the experimental vaccines had been administered to one million people in China.
Among the primary groups targeted for the vaccine are Chinese citizens stationed overseas, including diplomats, students, and at least 56,000 construction workers from state-run enterprises, the latter having received the Sinopharm shots. In November, Reuters cited Sinopharm as boasting that none of its vaccine recipients who went abroad had been infected.
However, the Chinese Embassy in Uganda on December 5 announced that an Indian company in Uganda reported 47 Chinese citizens working for the firm had tested positive for COVID-19. It stated the majority of the cases were asymptomatic, but a minority experienced symptoms of the virus, including fever, cough, fatigue, and diarrhea.
The embassy reminded overseas Chinese and Chinese-funded institutions in Uganda to take all necessary measures to prevent cluster infections. Given that overseas workers are one of the main groups that have been receiving the vaccines since June, the laborers in Uganda should have been vaccinated, reported Liberty Times.
The fact that 47 workers in one company tested positive for the virus and an undisclosed number exhibited symptoms casts doubts on the efficacy of the experimental Chinese vaccines. Although the Chinese biotech industry claims that large-scale vaccinations have been carried out in accordance with emergency use regulations and are safe and effective, experts point out that the very low official rate of coronavirus infections in China after May and lack of data on those vaccinated fail to support these assertions.
During an interview in August, Sinopharm Group Chairman Liu Jingzhen declared that Chinese-made vaccines will be available by the end of the year. He claimed that one dose would only cost a few hundred Chinese yuan and would be 100% effective; in comparison, efficacy rates of the candidates by Pfizer, Moderna, and Astra Zeneca in Phase Three trials are 95%, 94.5%, 70%, respectively.
The latest outbreak among Chinese workers raises questions about both the ability of the Chinese vaccines to prevent transmission of the disease but also the development of symptoms.