Put Out To Pasteurize: China calls for youth in Asia

As you might have heard, China has already rolled out its own vaccine, with questonable results – and I don’t just mean the vaccine (read below). One might even say their vaccine is ineffective at best, dangerous at worst. Tao Lina (陶黎納) a vaccine expert in China, has risked his own safety by publicly questioning the vaccine’s efficacy and safety:

China’s Sinopharm vaccine ‘most unsafe in world’ with 73 side effects

A Chinese vaccine expert is referring to the vaunted Sinopharm vaccine as the “most unsafe vaccine in the world,” after it was found to produce 73 side effects.

On Dec. 30 of last year, BBIBP-CorV, an inactivated vaccine produced by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a subsidiary of China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (Sinopharm), was officially approved by China’s National Medical Products Administration for general use in the communist country. This was the first Wuhan coronavirus vaccine approved by the Chinese government, and the state-run firm claimed that it has an efficacy rate of 79.34 percent based on late-stage trials.

However, Shanghai-based vaccine expert, Tao Lina (陶黎納), recently uploaded a digital version of the vaccine’s instruction manual onto his Weibo page, reported Hong Kong’s Ming Pao newspaper. He stated that after he read the manual, “I took in a long cold breath, and counted the conditions listed in the ‘adverse reactions’ column.” He found that there were 73 local/systemic adverse reactions associated with the vaccine.

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He stated that other doctors jokingly described the manual as “one long disclaimer.” However, he alleged that as long as the side effects are listed in the manual, recipients are not entitled to compensation if they occur.

The PRC government is “advising” the elderly not to get the Sinovac vaccine. Is this an admission that it is dangerous for some people, or a sign that they consider younger people in the workforce the priority, and the elderly are expendable?

More below the fold.

Chinese seniors urged not to get vaccinated against COVID

State media outlet CCTV released a notice on Sunday (Jan. 3) about the country’s inoculation effort against the coronavirus. According to CCTV, individuals aged 18 to 59 are eligible to receive a jab, but those of other age groups are cautioned against vaccination before further clinical tests are conducted.

They’re whistling a different tune elsewhere.  It makes you wonder what their motivations and priorities are:

China’s state editor slams the West’s ‘elderly people first’ COVID-19 vaccine strategy as he calls Beijing ‘responsible’ for prioritising the working population for jabs

The editor-in-chief of a Communist Party-controlled newspaper in China has taken a swipe at the West for giving COVID-19 vaccines to elderly people first as Beijing steps up its effort in shaping the narrative about the coronavirus pandemic.

Hu Xijin, the head of state-run propaganda publication The Global Times, praised Beijing’s decision to inoculate its working population ahead of the others as ‘responsible’.

China and Sinovac’s problems don’t end with a questionable vaccine and duplicitous “advice”.  Sinovac has a history of bribery.  Once you violate trust in one area, how can you demand people trust you in other areas?

As China nears a coronavirus vaccine, bribery cloud hangs over drugmaker Sinovac

Chinese coronavirus-vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech is good at getting its products to market. It was first to begin clinical trials of a SARS vaccine in 2003 and first to bring a swine flu vaccine to consumers in 2009.

Its CEO was also bribing China’s drug regulator for vaccine approvals during that time, court records show.

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“The fact that the company has a history of bribery casts a long shadow of doubt over its unpublished, non-peer-reviewed data claims about its vaccine,” said Arthur Caplan, medical ethics division director at New York University Langone Medical Center. “Even in a plague, a company with a morally dubious track record has to be treated with great caution concerning its claims.”

Elsewhere, Japan has concerns about obtaining vaccines. They don’t want China’s, but are also worried about the small percentage of Asian volunteers for trials by Pfizer, Moderna and others, on top of distributing it in a population of nearly 130 million. If people in the UK are having adverse reactions, there could be some in Japan and other countries.  Food intolerances and allergies are very common in Asia, and the types of foods are different than what affects white people (e.g. dairy products).  If Taiwan’s vaccine passes its second trial, Japan may be a customer.

After US, when will Asia get COVID-19 vaccines? 5 things to know

Expectations are rising about the availability of COVID-19 vaccines, as the U.S. announced on Friday it had approved emergency use of one developed by Pfizer and German partner BioNTech.

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Pfizer’s vaccine is said to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19. U.S. biotech company Moderna soon followed with its own candidate offering similar efficacy.

But the rollout has not gone without a hitch. Allergic reactions were reported in the U.K. on Wednesday, prompting the government to warn against giving the vaccine to people with a history of allergic reactions.

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Pfizer has tested its vaccine on 44,000 people in six countries, but only 5% of them have Asian backgrounds. Japan’s Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency argues that while the global results will be taken into account, separate tests need to be conducted on Japanese individuals to prove efficacy and safety.

Just yesterday, Taiwan’s Medigen received approval for phase 2 trials, and two other companies are still at work.  Taiwan has already purchased vaccines as part of the COVAX plan, but the CDC and CECC want multiple options.  Their goal is to vaccinate at least ten million over the next two years.  I’ll gladly line up if and when it’s available.  The first vaccines will be available in April.

Medigen to recruit 3,700 volunteers for COVID vaccine phase 2 trials

Taipei, Jan. 6 (CNA) Medigen Vaccine Biologics Corp. (MVC), a Taiwanese company whose COVID-19 vaccine candidate has been approved for second-stage clinical trials, said Wednesday that it will recruit 3,700 volunteers to participate in the trials over the next three months.

The company is partnering with 11 hospitals in Taiwan to speed up the process, with the hope of applying for emergency use authorization (EUA) for the vaccine in the second quarter of the year, said Lin Tzou-yien (林奏延), chairman of the National Health Research Institutes and chief convener of the trials.

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Medigen, the only company in Taiwan to proceed to phase 2 clinical trials of a COVID-19 vaccine, will be given access to a government website that has successfully recruited more than 200,000 volunteers for domestic COVID-19 vaccine trials.

On the bright side of things, mass usage of masks has had a pleasant side effect: cases of influenza and other seasonal illnesses in Taiwan are at an all time low.  It’s as if masks, improved hand washing and sanitizer had an actual effect.  Emphasis in the text is mine:

Fall in flu figures shows wider efficacy of COVID-19 measures: CDC

Proper personal hygiene practices, such as wearing a mask and frequent hand washing and temperature taking, have not only helped prevent the spread of COVID-19 but also reduced seasonal influenza and enterovirus infections in Taiwan, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Taiwan has recorded only one severe case of influenza so far this flu season, which started in October 2020, the lowest ever, with zero deaths. The lone severe case was reported in the final week of December, CDC statistics showed.

In the last flu season from October 2019 to September 2020, a total of 968 severe flu cases were reported, with 161 deaths, according to the statistics.

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Following the launch of the 2020 government-funded influenza vaccination program in early October 2020, supplies of 6 million free doses of vaccine almost ran out in about two months, prompting the government to purchase additional vaccine doses, according to the CDC.

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Only five cases of enterovirus infections were recorded in 2020 and all of those were at the beginning of the year, also a record low, according to CDC data.

Talk about a virtuous cycle.