The Director of the Chinese Center of Disease Control (China CDC) on Sunday refuted claims by some media outlets and overseas social media platform users that the director “admitted” Chinese COVID-19 vaccines have a low protection rate, saying that “it was a complete misunderstanding.”
In an exclusive interview with the Global Times, Gao Fu, head of the China CDC, said as scientists around the world are discussing vaccine efficacy, he offered a scientific vision: that to improve the efficacy, adjustment of vaccination procedures and sequential inoculation of different types of vaccines might be options.
"The protection rates of all vaccines in the world are sometimes high, and sometimes low. How to improve their efficacy is a question that needs to be considered by scientists around the world," Gao said. "In this regard, I suggest that we can consider adjusting the vaccination process, such as the number of doses and intervals and adopting sequential vaccination with different types of vaccines.”
Gao stressed that as it is the first time human beings have encountered COVID-19, there are many scientific problems to be studied when it comes to vaccinations.
"This is also the first time that humans have been vaccinated with a novel coronavirus vaccine. All the vaccination procedures we have adopted so far have been based on previous extrapolations of other virus vaccines inoculation, and that extrapolation has worked pretty well,” Gao said. “But in the future, if we need to make improvements, we can make adjustments based on the characteristics of the novel coronavirus and the vaccination situation.”
"If we go with the traditional way of developing a vaccine, we wouldn’t have had a vaccine within a year. But scientists all over the world developed COVID-19 vaccines within a few months, which is the first time in the world's history. There are many scientific questions that need to be addressed,” Gao said.
The WHO requirement for the efficacy of a COVID-19 vaccine is 50 percent or above, and the qualified threshold for most vaccines in the world to be marketed is about 70 percent or above. China has published the first edition of guidelines on COVID-19 vaccination and “this is the best approach at present,” Gao noted.
Gao called for people to get a shot as the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the risks. “Vaccines have to be used fairly and the world should share vaccines. If the world doesn’t share vaccines, the virus will share the world,” he said.