Hong Kong speeds up approval of Chinese Sinovac vaccine

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Hong Kong | The Hong Kong government on Thursday approved the emergency use of Sinovac’s COVID-19 vaccine, dubbed CoronaVac, after a panel of experts decided to recommend it despite poor results in terms of efficacy.

“A first batch of one million injections of Sinovac vaccines will soon arrive in Hong Kong,” the Hong Kong executive said in a statement.

Media have claimed that the first doses could be delivered as early as Friday, allowing the vaccination campaign to be launched in the financial center.

The authorities could have difficulty convincing the inhabitants to accept this vaccine produced by a Chinese laboratory as the population’s mistrust of the Beijing authorities is great.

On Tuesday, an advisory committee unanimously supported the use of Sinovac’s vaccine, saying there are more benefits than risks in allowing its use.

Unlike competing vaccines developed by Pfizer / BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca, Sinovac has yet to report the conclusions of the phase 3 clinical trials.

The Hong Kong authorities have accepted that the Sinovac laboratory will ignore this obligation and communicate them directly to the experts.

The latter indicated that they had received enough data from the Chinese group. They have shown an efficacy rate of 62.3% when two doses are administered 28 days apart, according to this advisory committee.

According to Sinovac, large-scale testing in Brazil has shown the vaccine’s overall effectiveness rate of around 50% in preventing infection.

An efficacy rate much lower than the vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, with respective rates of 95 and 94%.

The Hong Kong authorities have already approved the BioNTech vaccine.

Hong Kong audio-visual group RTHK said Thursday that the first doses of the latter should arrive next week in the semi-autonomous territory.