In a rare admission of the perceived weakness, China’s top health official admitted his country’s vaccines are not the best at protecting people from coronavirus.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, the director of the China Centers for Disease Control, Gao Fu, said the Chinese vaccines “don’t have very high protection rates.”
Fu suggested that mixing several vaccines is one of the strategies they have considered in order to increase the effectiveness of immunization.
“It’s now under consideration whether we should use different vaccines from different technical lines for the immunization process”, he said, referring in particular to the new mRNA vaccine technology.
The Chinese officials were previously sceptical of this new form of immunization. “Everyone should consider the benefits mRNA vaccines can bring for humanity,” Gao said. “We must follow it carefully and not ignore it just because we already have several types of vaccines already.”
Beijing has distributed hundreds of millions of doses of its vaccines while simultaneously trying to promote doubt about the effectiveness of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine made using the mRNA process.
Previous comments from Gao were skeptical of the mRNA vaccine. He stating that mRNA vaccines were administered to healthy people for the first time, and that there will be risks involved. “There is a safety concern,” he said late last year.
Despite the comments from Gao, in a follow-up message to The Associated Press, Mr. Gao sought to clarify his statements saying that he was referring to the protection rates of “vaccines in the world, not particularly for China.” He did not want to answer which vaccines he was referring to in particular. At present, Beijing has no yet approved any foreign vaccines for use in China.