China is coordinating its coronavirus strategy.Make that strategy

The man was vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine in a mobile COVID-19 vaccination vehicle in Beijing, China, on April 13, 2021.

Men will be vaccinated with COVID-19 at a mobile medical station in Beijing on April 13. (One Way Way / Getty Images)

The poster wasn’t the most sophisticated marketing campaign, but it meant “Come Get Your Eggs !!!”.

Everyone over the age of 60 who has been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine at this community center in Beijing is entitled to two boxes of free eggs. The deal is part of a national promotion to raise vaccination rates in countries that have spurred complacency and relatively slow vaccination rates despite adequate supply due to the successful containment of the pandemic. was.

Chinese authorities have set a goal of immunizing 40% of the 1.4 billion population by June. As of April 14, health officials said there were about 180 million doses, but the number of people who have been completely vaccinated is unknown.

To achieve their goals, authorities have sent local-level workers nationwide to knock on doors, broadcast phone calls on village speakers, and provide benefits to vaccinated people. did.

Free egg and park tickets are commonly offered in Beijing. In a district of Shenzhen, a company donated 2,500 roasted pigeon coupons and free soy milk to seduce people and roll up their sleeves. In another example, a patriotic film was shown to “warm the hearts” of vaccinated people.

One of the reasons China first delayed the deployment of the vaccine was its success in stopping the spread of the virus. There have been only a handful of small outbreaks in China this year. Immediately contained Through strict blockade and quarantine. Most of the country lives normally for months with little sense of urgency surrounding group gatherings, open schools and workplaces, and vaccines.

Residents are lined up to get the COVID-19 vaccine in the Beijing shopping district.

Residents are lined up in the Beijing shopping district for vaccination. China is accelerating its vaccination campaign by providing incentives (free eggs, store coupons, etc.) to those shot. (Ng Han Guan / Associated Press)

There is some skepticism about the effectiveness of Chinese vaccines sent to dozens of countries as part of Beijing’s vaccine diplomacy, even though vaccine makers have not released public data on final trials.

Recently, experts from the World Health Organization Advisory Board Said They were looking at data from Chinese vaccine makers Sinopharm and Sinovac that meet WHO requirements for 50% efficacy and complete safety. The data have not been released, but Sinopharm claims that the vaccine is 79% effective, while Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia state that their Sinovac trials showed 50% to 83% effectiveness in their own country. I will.

On April 10, when Director Takafuku of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in China said at a medical conference that the effectiveness of Chinese vaccines was “not high” and that it could be improved by adjusting and changing the number of doses. Surprised part of the government. Time between doses, or a mixture of different types of vaccines.

He also said that the types of mRNA vaccines used by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna have achieved surprising levels of immunity, and China should not overlook such technology. It was a scientific observation that soon became political. Gao was virtually right. Chinese vaccines are less effective than vaccines manufactured by Pfizer / BioNTech and Moderna.

But it was sensitive to say so in China’s transnational environment, where vaccines have become a symbol of national scientific capacity and global influence. Chinese officials and state media have been questioning the safety of foreign vaccines in recent months, despite promoting Chinese vaccines. Lack of transparency Around their test data.

Gao soon Quote again State media said foreign reports of his approval that Chinese vaccines were weakly protected were a “total misunderstanding.”

At the vaccination site in the area of ​​Beixinqiao in central Beijing, it seems that he did not hear Gao’s remarks or hesitate to vaccinate.

“We believe that Japan will ensure the safety of the people,” said Kui, a 28-year-old woman who had just received a second shot and did not reveal her name.

COVID-19 vaccination site with the slogan

Uniformed workers stand outside the coronavirus vaccination site and have a bulletin board in Beijing with the slogan “Timely vaccination to build the Great Wall together.” (Ng Han Guan / Associated Press)

A 40-year-old volunteer named Qi Chao stood in the stairwell of the building and raised a QR code to allow visitors to scan and register shots. They have flowed steadily. A young woman helping her father with glasses sign up for a cell phone, a street cleaner still in uniform, a woman standing outside and standing outside asking a friend upstairs.

Some visitors asked about their eligibility, including mothers who are still breastfeeding, older women with arm injuries, and men with high blood pressure, but only a few. Volunteer Qi said few people asked about which vaccine they were vaccinated against or how effective they were.

“There is no difference between vaccines anyway,” Qi said. “I don’t know how long it will last or how well it works, but of course it’s useful to get it and it’s better to have it than not.”

Scientists agree.

Keiji Fukuda, Director of the Faculty of Public Health, University of Hong Kong, said: As COVID-19 continues to spread and mutate, individuals may need to receive additional vaccinations, regardless of which vaccine they are currently vaccinated against.

Gao’s suggestion about Combination vaccine The use of different types of stimulating the immune response in different ways is being seriously considered in some countries. Researchers at Oxford University are testing whether the combination of Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines produces better immunity than either vaccine alone. A combination trial of AstraZeneca and the Russian Sputnik V vaccine is also underway.

Scientists at the National Institute of Health Sciences in China Experiment with combination Vaccination of mice, and some have been found to produce a stronger immune response.

Gao, the head of the CDC, and researchers at the National Institute of Food and Drug Administration in China did not respond to requests for further comment from The Times. Official Chinese guidelines recommend using the same vaccine product for both shots. However, the “dPT vaccine” could pave the way for the use of foreign vaccines in China.

Fosun Pharma, a Chinese company, has signed a contract with BioNTech since December last year to distribute 100 million mRNA vaccines jointly developed with Pfizer. However, mainland authorities have not approved the vaccine, despite approval by WHO and separate regulators in Hong Kong and Macau.

Clinical trial Some of the vaccines are underway, but it is unclear whether China will approve it first or prioritize entirely Chinese-made mRNA vaccines.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that Chinese authorities would approve the BioNTech vaccine within the next 10 weeks, citing an unnamed source. However, the approval relies in part on the approval of Chinese vaccines abroad, the journal reports.

Vaccine selection is more complex than simply comparing efficacy numbers, said Shendin, director of the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute, a joint venture between Tsinghua University and the Gates Foundation.

Even China’s low-efficiency vaccine has proven valuable in preventing serious illness in infected people, he said. It is more important for personal protection, but higher potency mRNA vaccines may work better to build herd immunity. The cost of manufacturing, transporting, and storing different types of vaccines also influences the decision-makers to use.

Political considerations about saving the face should not be relevant in the medical context, Din said. He pointed out that foreign narcotics are widely used in China without politically sensitive implications. Why are vaccines different?

“After all, it’s about meeting people’s needs,” Din said. After all, they are also political considerations.

Ziyu Yang, a correspondent for the Beijing bureau of the Times, contributed to this report.

This story was originally Los Angeles Times..