Monday, March 27, 2023

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Will China accept the EU offer of free vaccines?

Will China accept the EU offer of free vaccines?

To contain the Covid emergency that is overwhelming China, the EU has offered Beijing to accept its vaccines free of charge. Here's how the negotiations are going

Tomorrow the European Council will meet to discuss the wave of Covid that is hitting China and any common measures to be implemented. The offer of the European Union to send vaccines to Beijing free of charge to contain the emergency is also positioned in this perspective.


After the request from Italy and not only to respond at European level to the epidemic that exploded in China following the abandonment of the so-called zero Covid policy, Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides has shown the willingness to seek a common path starting from offer of free vaccines in Beijing.

“Commissioner Kyriakides has reached out to his Chinese counterparts to offer solidarity and support, including public health expertise and donations of EU vaccines adapted to variants,” a European official told the Financial Times .

Beijing, which has so far never agreed to use vaccines that were not developed and produced in China, has not yet responded to the offer.


Two doses of Sinovac or Sinopharm, the vaccines administered in China, provide only 50 percent protection for those over 60, according to World Health Organization (WHO) health emergencies manager Mike Ryan, quoted by the FT . however, according to WHO data, only 40% of over 80s have received three doses and the organization considers the country's current vaccination coverage "insufficient".

In the EU, however, 83% of the adult population is fully vaccinated and the vaccine binge and contracts with Big Pharma for huge quantities of doses could now come in handy for China, where the excess supplies could be shipped.

China, however, denies the WHO data, and according to the FT , its officials at the EU have "insisted that the country has good vaccination coverage" declaring that "more than 3.4 billion doses have been administered in mainland China, with more than 90% of the population fully vaccinated and more than 92% receiving at least one dose."


Meanwhile, according to the latest update from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) the number of cases has reached a record level in mainland China, peaking on December 2, 2022. The lack of reliable data is also reiterated by Beijing on infections, hospitalizations, deaths and the capacity and occupation of intensive care units.

In the coming weeks, says the ECDC, "high levels of infections and greater pressure on health services in China are expected, due to the low immunity of the population and the easing of non-pharmacological interventions".


The European institution also reports that China has begun to deposit a greater number of sequences of the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the Gisaid international database: "From 1 to 30 December 2022, China deposited 592 sequences, of which 540 were been filed this week (December 25 to December 30, 2022). As of December 30, 2022, of the total 592 sequences submitted from China, 437 had recent sample collection dates between December 1 and December 24, 2022.”


These sequences, continues the ECDC, belonged mainly to the lineages (including their sub-lineages) BA.5.2 (35%), BF.7 (24%), BQ.1 (18%), BA.2.75 (5% ), XBB (4%), BA.2 (2%).

Furthermore, in the travel-related cases, variants BA.5.6, BA.4.6, BM.4.1.1 and BA.2.3.20 were found, but no new variants were identified.

“The variants circulating in China are already circulating in the EU – reads the press release – and, as such, do not represent a challenge for the immune response of EU/EEA citizens. Furthermore, EU/EEA citizens have relatively high levels of immunization and vaccination”.

This is a machine translation from Italian language of a post published on Start Magazine at the URL on Tue, 03 Jan 2023 09:50:28 +0000.