WHO Reportedly Starts Shipping Chinese COVID-19 Vaccines Despite Some Misgivings

The WHO reportedly started shipping Chinese COVID-19 vaccines despite some misgivings.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reportedly started shipping Chinese COVID-19 vaccines despite some misgivings.

The WHO started shipping Chinese COVID-19 vaccines despite some misgivings.
Photo source: Manila Bulletin

According to a report on Reuters, a WHO document showed that the WHO’s pandemic program planned to ship 100 million doses of the Sinopharm and Sinovac COVID-19 vaccines by the end of next month, mostly to Asia and Africa, in its first delivery of Chinese vaccines.

The shipment of Chinese vaccines will help the sputtering global COVAX vaccine-sharing program which was far behind its pledge to deliver 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses this year following supply problems and export curbs imposed by India.

Also, the shipment of Chinese vaccines could boost China’s vaccine diplomacy efforts despite concerns over the efficacy of the Chinese vaccines, which have been turned down or paired with boosters from Western vaccine manufacturers by some of the recipient countries.

Based on a report, a WHO document dated July 29 said that half of the 100 million Chinese vaccines will be provided by Sinopharm and half will be provided by Sinovac, with deliveries planned for “July to September 2021”.

A spokesperson for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI) told Reuters that about 10 million Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines had been shipped by mid-August.

China’s trade ministry, Sinovac, and Sinopharm didn’t respond to requests for comment about when the Chinese COVID-19 vaccines would be delivered.

READ ALSO: COVID-19 Vaccines Possibly Commercially Available In PH By 2022 — FDA

The Chinese COVID-19 vaccines had been allocated to 60 countries, mostly in Africa, which was expected to receive a third of the 100 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. However, not all countries wanted the Chinese COVID-19 vaccines.

South Africa was listed by COVAX as one of Africa’s largest recipients of Chinese vaccines with an allocation of 2.5 million Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine doses, but a senior health official told Reuters that the country was currently unable to accept the vaccines.

Nigeria, the main recipient of Chinese vaccine in Africa under COVAX with an allocation of nearly 8 million Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine doses, has approved the said vaccine but has called it a “potential option” for the country’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign.

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