So what’s the deal with the Sinopharm vaccine?

PHOTO: More about the newly-approved in Thailand Sinopharm vaccine. (via Wikimedia)

Sinopharm is Thailand’s hot new vaccine, having been approved by the Food and Drug Administration yesterday, so what information do we have about the Covid-19 vaccine? The vaccine has been approved by World Health Organisation for people above the age of 18 and is administered in the same way as Sinovac and AstraZeneca, with 2 jabs spaced 3 to 4 weeks apart. It is an inactivated Covid-19 vaccine, meaning it is made of virus particles that have been grown in culture and then killed so they are harmless to humans.

Developed by Sinopharm/China National Pharmaceutical Group, the vaccine was the first WHO-approved Asian vaccine for Covid-19 emergency use. Studies show it to be effective from 2 weeks after the second jab, preventing 79% of symptomatic Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations.

Unfortunately, there is little data on how Sinopharm handles the mutant strains of Covid-19 that are now in Thailand and spreading throughout the world. The B.1.1.7 “UK” variant is responsible for Thailand’s third wave of Covid-19, accounting for 93% of all infections in Thailand. We don’t yet know how effective Sinopharm is on that variant, nor the Brazilian, Indian, and South African variants now found in Thailand.

Biogenetech Co. has been approved to import Sinopharm into Thailand and Chulabhorn Royal Academy surprised many by announcing they were importing the vaccine. Only the government is allowed to import vaccines into Thailand, but the academy later said they were working in partnership with the Public Health Ministry and the FDA.

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The academy has vowed to sell Sinopharm vaccines at cost, estimating a price of about 1,000 baht per jab. They also plan to offer side-effect coverage with an insurance plan. They expect to have the first million vaccines by the end of next month. Several large corporations and organisations are already negotiating caches for their members, with PTT oil and gas conglomerate and the Federation of Thai Industries reserving their supplies now.

Sinopharm has been used already in several countries around the world, with China, Bahrain, Egypt, Hungary, Morocco, Peru, and the United Arab Emirates all adopting the vaccine. Dubai’s leader, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, was vaccinated with Sinopharm in November last year.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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