The director of China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said during a conference in the southwestern city of Chengdu on Saturday that Chinese vaccines "don't have very high protection rates."

The rare admission of the country's disease control official means that COVID-19 vaccines from China have low effectiveness, AP News reported. He added that the government is considering mixing them to get a boost.

"It's now under formal consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines for the immunization process," Gao said.

In the past months, China has distributed hundreds of millions of doses of its vaccines abroad while trying to promote doubt on other COVID-19 vaccines, particularly on the vaccine made by Pfizer-BioNTech that used the previously experimental mRNA process.

Chile Leads Vaccination In Latin America
(Photo : Getty Images)
SANTIAGO, CHILE - MARCH 19: A health worker prepares a dose of Sinovac vaccine on March 19, 2021 in Santiago, Chile. The Andean country already inoculated over 5.5 million people, which represents 18% of its population. (Photo by Marcelo Hernandez/Getty Images)

China Considers Mixing COVID-19 Vaccines to Boost Efficacy

Gao Fu's admission is likely to cause concern in other countries that are relying on Chiese vaccines, like Turkey and Singapore who have already placed orders, The Guardian reported. Meanwhile, Indonesia has received three million doses of Sinovac last January for use in elderly people.

Moreover, United Arab Emirates (UAE) uses the COVID-19 vaccine from Sinopharm. China has also administered 161 million doses of Chinese vaccines since last year and aims to inoculate 40% of its 1.4 billion population by June.

Last month, the country resumed issuing visa processing for foreigners provided that they will be vaccinated by Chinese vaccines, a move that raised many questions given that their vaccines are not approved in many countries that opened travel.

AP News reported that officials at the news conference did not respond to any questions regarding Gao Fu's comments. But another CDC official said that Chinese vaccine developers are working on mRNA vaccines that have already entered the clinical trial stage.

Experts are considering mixing vaccines, or sequential immunization, as an option to boost vaccine effectiveness. Researchers from Britain are already testing this by mixing Pfizer-BioNTech and Astrazeneca vaccines, which are mRNA vaccines.

Gao Fu said that the country would possibly use mRNA vaccines. He previously questioned the safety of these vaccines and he was even quoted saying that he could not rule out the negative side effects that it might bring as this is the first time that it is administered on healthy people.

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Incorrect Interpretation on Chinese Vaccines Effectivity

In an interview with Global Times on Sunday, Gao Fu refuted claims by local and overseas social media outlets that he admitted that Chinese COVID-19 vaccines have a low protection rate.

"It was a complete misunderstanding," Gao Fu said.

He said that as scientists around the world are discussing vaccine efficacy, he is merely offering a scientific vision to improve efficacy, adjustment of vaccination procedures, and considering sequential inoculation of different vaccine types.

Gao Fu pointed out that the vaccination process currently used has been based on the previous extrapolation of other vaccines and that it has worked pretty well. But he noted that improvements are still necessary to make adjustments on the characteristics of the virus and situation.

Like AstraZeneca, Gao Fu stressed that people should get a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine as its benefits far outweigh the risks.

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