Chinese health authorities have recently said that an additional third dose of the COVID-19 vaccine may be needed to boost its effectiveness. The announcement was released soon after a doctor in China’s Xi’an city was reportedly infected with the CCP virus after receiving two doses of a Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine.
A virologist who spoke with The Epoch Times believes that the poor quality of the Chinese-made vaccines and the increasing threat posed by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus mutations are causing infections.
The unnamed Chinese doctor from Xi’an city, the capital of Shaanxi Province, tested positive for the CCP virus despite getting two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, Chinese media reported on March 18. The reports did not mention which Chinese-made vaccine the doctor received nor provide additional information about the case.
In an interview with China Central Television (CCTV) on March 20, Gao Fu, the director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), explained why two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine may not be enough and a third dose could be required to prevent infections.
Gao said that the virus infection is in the respiratory tract, but antibodies are produced in the body after the vaccination. “The antibodies in the body [produced after taking the vaccine] may not be so good for preventing respiratory infections.”
He said that the mass vaccination has just started and there is no data to show how people react to the vaccine.
Then he said that two doses of the Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccines, which are inactivated vaccines, might not induce enough antibodies, and a third dose is needed.
Gao tried to reassure the public about the efficacy of the homegrown vaccines by emphasizing that they can protect the general population against the disease.
Meanwhile, the distributor of China’s Sinopharm vaccine in the United Arab Emirates has started offering a third dose to some people with low immune response. The UAE approved the Sinopharm vaccine last year. Authorities said on March 20 that nearly 56 percent of its adult population has been inoculated with at least one dose of the Chinese vaccine.
Vaccine Quality Issue and Lack of Data Transparency
In an interview with The Epoch Times, former U.S. Army Research Institute virology researcher, Dr. Sean Lin, said that all the current COVID-19 vaccines are actually injected intramuscularly.
“Basically, after being injected it induces antibodies inside the body and it should be all the same.”
Lin said it is not an excuse for the government to avoid the quality issue of the vaccine.
“Gao Fu mentioned that a third shot might be needed. The Chinese vaccines are inactivated vaccines. The second shot is actually an enhancer. If this does not produce enough antibodies, then it means that this inactivated vaccine actually has very low efficacy. And it’s the issue of quality of the vaccine itself,” he explained.
The media recently reported that seven people in Hong Kong have died after they were vaccinated with China’s Sinovac vaccine in less than three weeks. But it’s unclear whether the vaccine contributed to the deaths.
A Hong Kong media commentator criticized the government for using its own people as “lab rats” for the Sinovac vaccine.
The efficacy of Chinese vaccines has been questioned due to the lack of transparency in trial data. The phase three clinical trial of the Sinovac vaccine conducted in Brazil in January reported that it was 50.4 percent effective, which is far below the initial claims of the Chinese company that touted a 78 percent efficacy rate.
Lin pointed out that neither the Sinopharm nor the Sinovac vaccines have undergone large-scale clinical trials in mainland China and there is no data about the side effects.
“Although the Chinese vaccines have been administered on a large-scale across the country, in fact, neither government departments nor Sinovac or Sinopharm have provided any statistics on the efficacy and the side effects of the vaccines after tens of millions of people were vaccinated,” he said.
Lin also questioned Gao’s claim that there is no data about vaccine reactions or side effects, despite the fact that mass vaccinations were carried out last year.
“The Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines have been used in most parts of China since last summer. Officials announced that nearly 20 million people had been vaccinated by the beginning of this year. This large-scale vaccination was mandated by the central government. So, how can there be no statistics?”
“Western countries started vaccination in last December and after three months [statistics are already available]. China had almost nine to ten months … the statistics and data should have come out a long time ago. The CCP is still concealing the data and the whole thing is still opaque,” he added.
“The virus mutation has also led to a significant decline in the efficacy of the vaccine. The Sinovac vaccine was particularly ineffective in the phase three clinical trial in Brazil. This also has much to do with the epidemic of the new variants in Brazil.”
“Mainland China is unlikely spared from the immune escape variants, and the South Africa variant has also been reported in Guangzhou,” Lin added.
He warned, “The variants have greatly reduced the comprehensive ability and effectiveness of the various current vaccines. So, the biggest danger in China is actually the kind of variants that are spreading all over the country.”
Lin said that in China, regardless of whether people are vaccinated with Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines, they are faced with the problem that they may lack immunity against the new virus variants.
“There are some variants that can infect people who were infected before and recovered or have been vaccinated. So this is the threat posed by the variants.”
Luo Ya contributed to the report.