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What we know about Sinopharm vaccine

  • Published at 09:51 am May 6th, 2021
File photo: Till now, 13.5 million Sinopharm vaccines have arrived from China. Of them, 1.1 million shots were received under the Covax facility Reuters

In December, Sinopharm said it's vaccine was 79% effective after completing three phases of trials

Bangladesh has approved the Covid-19 vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm for emergency use amid a supply crunch. Bangladesh expects a shipment of 500,000 doses as a gift within a few days.

The vaccine supply fell short in late March this year after Serum Institute of India (SII) suspended the export of its Covishield vaccine when Bangladesh was scheduled to get its third consignment.

Bangladesh was supposed to get 30 million vaccines from SII in six instalments within six months via Beximco Pharmaceuticals.

However, the country received only seven million vaccines in two instalments. Besides, India has gifted Bangladesh with 3.3 million vaccines, the largest amount of vaccines sent as gift by India to any country.

With the vaccine stocks going low, Bangladesh had to look for alternatives to Covishield and China’s Sinopharm came as a potential candidate.

Also read- Same vaccine for both jabs, say health authorities

Mushtaq Hossain, an adviser to the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control And Research (IEDCR), told Dhaka Tribune if the new vaccines arrive, people who have already taken the first shot of astrazeneca, cannot take a Sinopharm shot.

“These two vaccines are made with different formulas and therefore Astrazeneca vaccine recipients cannot take a shot of the Sinopharm vaccine,” he told Dhaka Tribune. 

The trials show that the Sinopharm vaccine is more than 70% effective, he said, adding to that it is too early to tell how many variants it can fight but people should take the shots because studies clearly show that vaccinated people are less likely to get hospitalized.

On December 30, Sinopharm announced that their vaccine is 79% effective against the coronavirus after completing three phases of the trials. 

How much does it cost?

Bangladesh has not officially published any data regarding the price of per dose.    

According to the New York Times, Hungary decided to pay about 36 dollars a dose for the Covid-19 vaccine made by Sinopharm. 

According to Reuters, African country Senegal will pay 3.7 million dollars for 200,000 doses of China's Sinopharm vaccine. 

According to the BBC, nurses were found administering the injections for a fee of around 60 dollars in the Chinese city of Yiwu.

Also read- Health Minister: 500,000 Chinese vaccine doses may arrive on May 10

As per the Sinophram website, Sinopharm Chairman Liu Jingzhen said: “Recently, we observed new mutant strains in Britain and other places, and we are stepping up trials to obtain the protective results of our vaccine for them.”

 “One of the remarkable advantages of Sinopharm CNBG Covid-19 inactivated vaccine is the convenient storage and transportation, which just needs under the environment of 2~8℃ with no special and harsh requirements so that we can transport the vaccine with ordinary cold chains. The cold chain storage and transportation conditions of the vaccine are in line with the national conditions of most countries and greatly reduce the cost of storage and transportation.”

The phase three trial was carried out in the United Arab Emirates, with nearly 50,000 volunteers in 125 countries from different parts of the world.

In December, Peru suspended trials for the Sinopharm vaccine after it had an adverse effect on a volunteer. However, the suspension was later lifted.