The Corner


This Might Shock You, but It Turns Out China’s COVID-19 Vaccine Barely Works

After allowing a deadly plague to escape its borders and infect every other country in the world, and following that with exporting millions upon millions of defective personal protective equipment to other countries, the government of China has now bequeathed to Brazilians a vaccine that barely works.

China’s effort to boost its image by providing Covid-19 vaccines to the developing world suffered a setback after one of its leading inoculation candidates turned out to be 50% effective in late-stage trials in Brazil, significantly lower than earlier results showed.

While Sinovac’s CoronaVac efficacy rate still meets the 50% threshold the World Health Organization considers good enough for widespread use, scientists said a lack of transparency about the data risks damaging the credibility of a vaccine Brazilians and others world-wide are already reluctant to take.

Brazil’s Butantan Institute, a São Paulo-based public institute that is the first to complete late-stage trials of the CoronaVac vaccine, had said last week that it was shown to be 78% effective and offer total protection against severe cases of the disease.

But after rising pressure from Brazilian scientists, some of whom accused the trial’s organizers of misleading the public, Butantan said Tuesday those rates only included volunteers who suffered mild to severe cases of Covid-19. When data from all volunteers was considered—including those who contracted “very mild” cases of Covid-19 and required no medical assistance—the total efficacy rate fell to 50.4%, Butantan said.

It only works half the time? That success rate is even lower than particularly notorious colognes. The mistrust and suspicion that drive anti-vaccine attitudes is bad enough when we’re talking about vaccines that indisputably work. China rolling out a coin-flip-level effective shot is going to make vaccine skepticism a not-entirely-irrational choice in some corners of the globe.

China is not your friend, world. The United States of America has its flaws, and our government makes mistakes. We don’t always listen, we don’t have the patience to wait for consensus, sometimes we take our allies for granted.

But for all of our flaws, we’re not going to let a contagious virus escape from somewhere within our borders that just happens to be near viral-research labs, then send you personal protective gear that doesn’t work, and then, after inflicting such misery upon you, send you a crap vaccine.