DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng has urged the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government to clarify concerns raised over the efficacy of the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine due to studies done in Hong Kong and Chile recently.
He stressed that an explanation based on science and data on the efficacy of the Sinovac inactivated vaccine compared to mRNA vaccines like Pfizer-BioNTech was necessary to remove doubt and confusion among the people.
“Failure to do so will jeopardise public confidence in the only programme that the PN government is displaying some limited progress in,” Lim said in a statement today.
Published in mid-July in The Lancet, a Hong Kong study found that people inoculated with the mRNA Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had 10 times the amount of antibodies compared to those who received the Sinovac vaccine.
The leaders of a Chilean human trial of the Sinovac vaccine also recommended a third dose of the jab, as they said their studies showed participants’ protecting antibody levels were lower after six months.
Lim warned that the government must address any growing doubts so that they will not be drawn into geopolitical conflicts between superpowers, that is being translated to “running down vaccines from China” despite the vaccines already getting approval from the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The Bagan MP said DAP is fully supportive of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) but there must be proper and clear communication on policy direction.
“Otherwise, this will result in heightened hesitancy and doubts among the people, including those who have already taken the Sinovac vaccine,” Lim added.
While concerns over Sinovac's efficacy were re-ignited due to the two studies, one of the Hong Kong research’s authors, epidemiologist Ben Cowling, reportedly said people should still get vaccinated with Sinovac if it is their only option as it would still offer some protection.
“Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” Cowling was reported as saying by AFP.