China steals march to West in developing nations’ vaccine launch By Reuters

By Murad Sezer and Peter Graff ISTANBUL / LONDON (Reuters) – China is getting ahead of Western pharmacists in the COVID-19 vaccine race in developing countries, with Indonesia and Turkey launching huge campaigns with a Chinese vaccine this week, Brazil due to soon, and even Hungary, a member of the EU, will sign up. Scientists in some Western countries say China has taken too long to release test data. Public reports so far on how well their vaccines work have been inconsistent, which Chinese companies attribute to variations in methodology. Still, countries with hundreds of millions of people desperate for a vaccine believe China’s injections are good enough. As Western pharmacists struggle to meet domestic demand, Beijing has shipped millions of doses worldwide of CoronaVac, made by Sinovac Biotech, and is also marketing a separate vaccine made by another company, Sinopharm. The exports come even as China battles its own outbreak of infections, which has put more than 28 million people locked up. China has administered 10 million doses of vaccines at home. Although some studies on Sinovac injection have reported lower effectiveness rates than some Western products, countries that buy them say they appear effective in preventing the most serious and deadly form of COVID-19. Perhaps most importantly, they are also easy to administer, enabling rapid launch of large-scale programs to save lives and prevent health systems from being overwhelmed. Turkey launched its program on Thursday with the Sinovac vaccine, saying late in the afternoon that it had already vaccinated more than 200,000 people, more in a few hours than France has achieved in three weeks. Health workers came first. “We spent around 10 months in white overalls, supporting people in their fight for life. Health workers know very well that this situation cannot be taken lightly and that the vaccine is needed,” said the Surgeon General. Nurettin Yiyit. Hungary, which has complained about the “scandalously” slow launch of vaccines bought by the European Union on behalf of its 27 member states, struck a deal on Thursday to buy the Sinopharm vaccine. If approved, it would become the first EU country to authorize a Chinese vaccine. “BREAK THE CHAIN” While all countries will likely need more than one type of vaccine to meet demand, China has quickly gone off the mark in sending doses to countries at the bottom of the line. western vaccine supplies. Many developing countries may still have months to wait for their first vaccines. Meanwhile, Turkey already has 3 million doses of the Sinovac vaccine in its stock and Brazil has 6 million doses. Brazil is expected to start injecting them next week. Indonesian President Joko Widodo was the first to receive an injection of the Sinovac vaccine to kick off one of the world’s largest vaccination programs on Wednesday. He expects to have 30 million doses of Sinovac by the end of March, out of an order of more than 122 million in 2022. “Vaccination is important to break the chain of transmission of COVID-19 and provide protection and safety to all Indonesians and help accelerate economic recovery. ”The Western company competing most directly in developing countries with Sinovac so far is AstraZeneca (NASDAQ :), whose vaccine developed with the University of Oxford is also cheap and easy to administer. It will be the foundation of the largest vaccine program of all, which India is expected to launch on Saturday. More than 5 million doses were shipped across the country in preparation this week. Government of India says it will pay less than $ 3 per dose for the first 100 million injections, produced under license from the Serum Institute of India. Russia will launch a new expanded version of its vaccination program next week, using its own injection. on Sputnik V, which is also heavily marketed in developing countries. It has obtained approval in Argentina, Belarus and Serbia, although so far it has been slow to produce doses for large-scale export. Kirill Dmitriev, head of the Russian sovereign wealth fund backing the vaccine, said in an interview at the Reuters NEXT conference that Russia will seek EU approval for the vaccine next month and expects to gain 25% of the global market share.