People in Singapore who received the COVID-19 vaccine made by Chinese company Sinovac Biotech Ltd. won’t be exempted from pre-event testing, said the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Wednesday, June 30.
COVID-19 vaccines not included in Singapore’s national vaccination program may lack sufficient documentation of how effective they are at protecting people against COVID-19, particularly the Delta strain of the virus that causes it, the MOH added. Sinovac has only qualified for Singapore’s special access route.
Therefore, individuals who received Sinovac may not be regarded in the same manner as those vaccinated under the national vaccination program. But the MOH announced in March that those who are fully vaccinated are exempted from pre-event testing before attending events, like live performances, meetings and weddings.
The Delta strain is a more infectious mutation of the coronavirus that first surfaced in India. Last month, Delta made up more than 20 percent of COVID-19 cases in the United States, prompting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to label Delta as a “variant of concern.”
Health experts cast doubt on Sinovac’s efficacy
Early last month, Singapore allowed 24 private health clinics to administer the Sinovac vaccine after the World Health Organization (WHO) authorized it for emergency use. But health officials continue to cast doubt on the vaccine’s effectiveness even though the demand for the vaccine appears to be strong.
Officials say one reason why Singaporeans choose Sinovac is that they’re from mainland China or plan to travel there. Chinese state media organizations have been waging a misinformation campaign against vaccines manufactured by American pharmaceutical companies, such as Pfizer and Moderna.
In fact, China announced in March that it is resuming visa processing for foreigners from certain countries, but only if they have been vaccinated with a Chinese-made vaccine. The move has raised questions about the Chinese government’s motivations since its vaccines are not approved for use in many countries.
So far, China is open to foreigners from Hong Kong, the U.S., the United Kingdom, India, Israel, Iraq, Thailand and the Philippines, to name a few. Prospective entrants must have taken either a single dose of a Chinese-made vaccine at least 14 days before traveling or a full two-dose course of a Chinese-made vaccine.
But health experts are uneasy about Chinese-made vaccines. Kenneth Mak, Singapore’s director of medical services, said he’s worried about reports from other countries of people getting COVID-19 after getting injected with the Sinovac vaccine.
Mak cited cases in Indonesia of healthcare workers who received the Sinovac vaccine and were hospitalized. “It does give the impression that the efficacy of different vaccines will vary quite significantly,” he told The New York Times.
However, there have been reports of severe COVID-19 in people who have been fully vaccinated with Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines, the only vaccines used in Singapore’s national vaccination program.
Meanwhile, other studies indicate that infections in people injected with Chinese-made vaccines, including Sinovac, are more common than in people injected with either the Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccine. (Related: Study finds Pfizer coronavirus vaccine puts people at HIGHER risk of covid “variants.”)
Chinese-made vaccines like Sinovac are generally considered to be effective against severe COVID-19 infection. However, scientists have warned that developing nations that choose to use those vaccines could end up lagging behind countries that use the vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.
In June, Singapore averaged at about 20 new COVID-19 cases daily. More than a third of the city-state’s 5.7 million people have been fully vaccinated while nearly half have received at least one dose of a vaccine. Authorities expect to complete vaccinations by the end of the year.
Learn more about how governments are using COVID-19 vaccines to control citizens at Conspiracy.news.