Serious doubts have arisen over Chinese vaccines in Indonesia as those who have received the shots are also contracting Covid-19 and infections are urging the country, according to a report in Nikkei Asia.
Most of the vaccines being used by Indonesia have come from China's Sinovac Biotech. But some health workers inoculated with Sinovac jabs have been hospitalized. A few have even died despite being fully immunized, the report states.
The Indonesian Doctors Association says that of the 14 doctors who died from the virus between February and May, 10 had been fully vaccinated with Sinovac, while the rest had been given one dose.
One problem with Chinese vaccines is a general lack of data, making it difficult for policymakers to adequately assess them.
With the acute shortage of vaccines worldwide, some countries are being forced to opt for Chinese vaccines but efficacy appears to be in serious doubt.
China has been projecting itself as the front-runner in the Covid vaccine race but had itself gone in for a deal to buy the Pfizer BioNtech vaccine from Germany for its own use which shows that the dragon is not as confident in its home-made product as it would have others believe.
Beijing had launched aggressive vaccine diplomacy to woo ASEAN, Brazil and Mexico as part of its campaign to increase its influence worldwide.
However, countries in the ASEAN bloc had turned away from the offer and signed deals for the Pfizer vaccine instead since there is no transparency in the development of the Chinese vaccine as is the case with much else in the country.
ASEAN members Thailand, the Philippines have finalised deals for procuring COVID-19 vaccines from US pharma giant Pfizer and Britain’s AstraZeneca which also has a collaboration with Pune-based Serum Institute of India.
Brazil and Taiwan have also raised questions over the Chinese vaccine candidates in the past. The fact that China had sourced 100 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine from German company BioNtech for its own use had only gone to strengthen the doubts of these countries over the Chinese vaccine candidates..
Doubts over the Chinese vaccine were earlier raised when Taiwan made it very clear that it would not buy COVID vaccines manufactured by mainland companies due to safety and regulatory concerns.
Communist China has been divulging very little about its vaccine development programme to the outside world. Even without final approval, more than 1 million healthcare workers and others who are seen as facing a high risk of infection in China had received experimental vaccines under emergency use permission. But the developer has yet to disclose how effective their vaccines are and the possible side effects that they may have.