China’s so-called “vaccine diplomacy” has been an integral part of the country’s effort to improve its image after its disastrous steps in covering up the virus and then failing to contain it in any meaningful way.
They were already talking about giving the vaccines away in May of 2020 — just a few months into the pandemic, when Chinese President Xi Jinping told a World Health Assembly meeting vaccines were a “global public good.” However, as Asia-centric publication The Diplomat noted in March of this year, “it does not necessarily follow that Chinese vaccines would be provided for free” and that some countries purchased them or were offered loans.
But they could supply them — and that was enough for Bahrain, apparently. They purchased the inoculations from China. This wasn’t because they were cheap; an April article in the British Medical Association’s BMJ noted that Sinopharm’s vaccine could cost between $19 to $36 a dose, compared with $2.50 to $6 for the AstraZeneca vaccine. It was available, however.
It just turns out it’s not very effective — and that’s a serious hitch in China’s vaccine diplomacy.
According to a massive Bahraini study reported on by the Jerusalem Post on Friday, Sinopharm was the least effective of the four types used in the Middle Eastern country: Sinopharm, AstraZeneca, Pfizer and Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine.
“According to the study, which included the data of more than one million people, the Chinese-developed Sinopharm vaccine was less suitable for those over 50 years old, but in general, it reduced the death rate to a quarter compared to those who did not receive any vaccine dose,” the Jerusalem Post reported.
Bahrain has vaccinated 91 percent of its population. However, the results of the study — which included 1,003,960 people inoculated between Dec. 9, 2020, and July 17, 2021 — showed that while 56.6 percent of the vaccinated population received Sinopharm, they were well overrepresented in terms of hospitalization, ICU patients and deaths. (Another 18.4 percent received the Sputnik vaccine, 16.8 percent received Pfizer and 7.3 percent received AstraZeneca.)
Of the 10,447 hospitalized patients, 82.2 percent were unvaccinated. A further 16.1 percent received the Sinopharm vaccine, 0.7 percent received Sputnik V, 0.43 received AstraZeneca and 0.38 received Pfizer.
Among 1,451 ICU-treated individuals, 90.2 percent were unvaccinated. A further 138 received Sinopharm, three received AstraZeneca, one received Pfizer and none received Sputnik V.
Of the 976 deaths, 112 of these — 11.5 percent — were from Sinopharm. Three deaths, or 0.03, were reported among those who took Pfizer or Sputnik. Only one person who took AstraZeneca died.
This isn’t just a matter of over half the vaccinated public being given Sinopharm. If the same number of people received the Pfizer vaccine as received Sinopharm and the death rates remained the same, you would end up with 10 deaths and three patients in the ICU.
Of the hospitalized patients, roughly 1,682 received Sinopharm and 40 received Pfizer. Again, if Pfizer received the same distribution as Sinopharm and the rates stayed the same, this would mean roughly 134 hospitalizations.
This remains similar across the board. Only nine Sputnik-vaccinated patients would have died if the numbers held true, and only 224 would have ended up in the hospital. In terms of AstraZeneca, there would have been eight deaths and 349 being hospitalized.
“We believed from the beginning that the vaccine helps curb the spread of the virus, but the main goal of it is to reduce complications in the event of infection and to reduce deaths or hospitalizations,” said Dr. Manaf AlQahtani, infectious disease consultant who’s a member of the team tackling COVID-19 in the Persian Gulf state.
“All vaccines were certainly effective, and at rates that differ from one type to another according to the way it works. According to the study, the death rate among those who did not receive any vaccine compared to those who received the Sinopharm vaccine increases 3.8 times,” he added.
“It cannot be said that the Sinopharm vaccination was a failure, but it was less effective and, in general; with a booster dose it could become more appropriate,” Dr. Rajesh Mundan said. “The picture began to become clearer with the passage of time.”
He continued that “it seems that it is not suitable enough for people over 50 years of age, because of its manufacturing method that relies on traditional methods, and therefore Bahrain needed to give an additional booster dose of another vaccination such as Pfizer.”
He added that the study was accurate: “It is a very accurate study. Bahrain has a sophisticated electronic system that includes all the data accurately. Therefore, as soon as you enter the person’s number, all the data appears to you, and you can benefit from it easily, which made the data analysis of more than a million people possible and more easily available,” he said.
It was previously reported that the vaccination program in the United Arab Emirates, another Gulf state that prominently used Sinopharm, had to offer a booster shot.
“An additional supportive dose of Sinopharm is now available to people who have received the vaccine previously and who have now completed more than six months since the second dose,” the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority tweeted in May.
Updates from the #UAE Government media briefing today. #TogetherWeRecover pic.twitter.com/f0tyjHHKPI
— NCEMA UAE (@NCEMAUAE) May 18, 2021
And then there’s the case of the Seychelles — which, as CNBC reported in May, was the most vaccinated country on Earth. The archipelago in the Indian Ocean used Sinopharm for the majority of vaccinations, however, and even in mid-May — before the delta variant was in wide circulation — cases had surged to an average of 300 a day in a nation of just over 97,000.
While those numbers have come down, they remained high during the summer in what was the clearest test case for the efficacy of Sinopharm.
This was the kind of reaction that was supposed to foster a thank-you from a world that had been burned by China’s poor handling and lack of transparency with regard to COVID-19’s beginnings. Instead, their government-run pharmaceutical company produced a vaccine that’s produced spotty results at best.
And all of this, sadly, was designed to help China weather a pandemic it helped create, either through its incompetence or a more frightening alternative. And that’s why vaccine diplomacy is doomed to fail — the vaccines themselves don’t work as well as their Western counterparts.
The Western Journal has published this article in the interest of shedding light on stories about the COVID-19 vaccine that are largely unreported by the establishment media. In that same spirit, according to the most recent statistics from the CDC’s Vaccine Adverse Effect Reporting System, 7,653 deaths have been reported among those who received a vaccine in the United States, or 20 out of every 1,000,000. By contrast, 666,440 deaths from COVID-19 have been reported by the CDC, or 17,537 out of every 1,000,000. In addition, it must be noted that VAERS reports can be filed by anyone and are unverified by the CDC. Thus, as the agency notes, “Reports of adverse events to VAERS following vaccination, including deaths, do not necessarily mean that a vaccine caused a health problem.” The decision of whether to receive a COVID vaccine is a personal one, but it is important to consider context when making that decision. — Ed. note