The space for my opinion on world affairs and vaccine.
SINGAPORE is finally talking to AZ to buy doses, and has decided to ask more data from Sinovac before going on on studying its potential use.
Humble opinion: it won’t. Why? Either they have been studying it since December or just now (as some media reported). The latter is unlikely as you need weeks to asses what is missing what to ask etc. The former situation, the HSA has been studying it for months (as they did with all vaccines), means they are just trying to postpone any public decision, a polite way to say NO WAY.
The city state has only 2 approved vaccines so far: Pfizer and Moderna, despite having invested in Sinovac, it seems not prone at all to it. After asking for ‘more data’ (China does NOT provide data, as it leaves to single countries… weird uh? you want? you approve it and give me the data…) here it’s the screenshot from the national newspaper Straits Times. The comment on Sinovac are quite clear.
THAILAND, INDONESIA & perhaps MALAYSIA allowed private clinics to buy the vaccine. We are talking about big international groups, very very big. In countries which have a strong medical tourism (Thailand) or where the public health service is limited (Indonesia) and should worry about people that cannot afford the vaccine rather than the much wealthier. It’s a good thing, people with a certain degree of wealth can travel, spend their time in resorts and get vaccinated, with 1 shot J&J probably. I hope more countries will follow these examples. Public service then can really focus on the challenge of helping who needs.
AstraZeneca has come out from a terrible situation. Was there a PR war? Perhaps yes or perhaps not. Let’s see… rumors say that the de-legitimizing campaign in EU was trolls-driven to discredit the company and its vaccine at the eyes of developing countries; countries which receive the jabs of AZ from COVAX. At the same time Indonesia declared it ‘haram’ but temporarily permitted, while AZ Indonesia replied the clergy council that issued the fatwa was wrong. How could they knew what was used in the process? At the same time, China took some steps to support Sinovac (access to the nation would be faster if you take their jab), a pretty pathetic childish thing to do in a pandemic, which appears suspicious for the timing. Especially because China will allow in the country whoever is vaccinated, with what it won’t matter. They are realists after all. Was it a Chinese trolls organized campaign against AZ? I have no way to know and probably none could, but many got the impression and this is what Beijing should be more careful. Appearances are everything. It must also be highlighted they were coming from a terrible PR moment too, as Chile while vaccinated at 44/45% with sinovac, is seeing its cases rising and health system collapsing.
The fight on AZ is incredible, US asked for more recent data, the Indonesian Ulema said it was haram (forbidden) but acceptable for a while, the EU went into a spiral of craziness due to social media crap