The Chinese vaccine scored higher efficacy rates than initially anticipated by Sinopharm.
As Morocco launches its national vaccination campaign, the country has received half a million doses of the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine on Wednesday, January 27.
Last week on Friday, Morocco received the first shipment of vaccines from India, which supplied Morocco with two million doses of Covishield developed by UK-based AstraZeneca and Oxford University.
The Sinopharm vaccine was developed in Beijing and has been authorized for use in approximately 40 countries, most of which are low or middle-income countries. The vaccine has been rolled out in part in China, where around 1 million people have already been vaccinated.
Many countries have reported promising results on the efficacy of the Sinopharm vaccine. Indonesia announced a 65.3% rate of efficacy while Brazil reported a 78% rate of success.
Meanwhile, the Chinese vaccine recorded a high 91.2% rate of efficacy in Turkey and 86% in the UAE.
The reported results exceed the pharmaceutical company’s expectations. In December 2020, Sinopharm announced that its COVID-19 vaccine is 79% effective, according to the results of its Phase 3 trials.
The vaccine works by injecting an inactivated version of the SARS-CoV-02 virus to expose the body’s immune system to the virus without risking a serious disease response.
According to the spokesperson of China’s National Biotech Group, Yang Xiaoming, the vaccine has proved effective in protecting people from seven to eight variants of the coronavirus.
While tests on the new UK variant are still underway, the Sinopharm vaccine is believed to be more adaptive when responding to new variants and strains since it’s a “whole virus vaccine and contains various antigens,” according to Yang.
In addition to its efficacy, the side effects of Sinopharm are reportedly lighter than other types of vaccines. People who have been vaccinated report muscle aches and light fever.
In terms of storage conditions, the Chinese vaccines can be stored at temperatures of 2 to 8 C. This makes the vaccine “easier to store and transport,” said the president of the China Vaccine Industry Association, Feng Duojia.
Meanwhile, the mRNA vaccines such as Moderna and Pfizer, need to be stored at -20C and Pfizer-70C respectively. Many low-middle income countries could face logistical challenges and might not be able to store large amounts of vaccine at such low temperatures.
Morocco purchased 66 million doses of COVD-19 vaccines in order to target 33 million Moroccan citizens and residents. The vaccine is free of charge and the national vaccination campaign will prioritize essential workers, the elderly, and people in high-risk categories.