Health official advises young people to take Sinopharm vaccine

Deputy Chairman of the Technical Working Group on vaccinations Dr Courtney Lewis (File photo)
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“If you’re young and up and about, Sinopharm is pretty much a good vaccine for you,” Deputy Chairman of the Technical Working Group on vaccinations Dr Courtney Lewis said.

Lewis made that recommendation yesterday, urging young people who are exploring Covid-19 vaccine options to take advantage of the Chinese shot which came into circulation on Monday.

Reason being, that vaccine is most effective among the younger population, he disclosed.

“The thing is that it is most effective in a younger population so anywhere between 18 years of age to maybe 60 years of age, it has shown a very low side effect profile. A good safety profile and a very good efficacy profile.

“You start to get a little bit of a drop in its efficacy once you start going into the above 60 population. It doesn’t mean that they don’t get any protection. It just means that it’s not as high as if you were a bit younger.

“So maybe if you are above 60 and you are still interested in getting vaccinated you should hurry and get some of those AstraZeneca shots before they are all done or before they expire,” Dr Lewis said on state media.

He also spoke to the possible side effects of the important injection.

“You are looking at the same kind of side effects that you would expect, those immune response side effects. You are looking at things like the soreness to the arm. It is important to note that Sinopharm is not the same kind of vaccine like AstraZeneca is,” Lewis shared.

He said however that, “it actually uses an inactivated virus as opposed to just the protein particles from the shell as AstraZeneca does and thus to that you may get some more of the soreness to the arm, maybe a little bit high of a fever than AstraZeneca would have given you but too much in terms of more of the other types of side effects.”

The doctor also stated that since the vaccine is in Stage 4 of clinical trials, it must be noted that “there were two cases of people who had brain swelling but I don’t know if they could even link them to the vaccine or if those patients just had it while they were getting vaccinated”.

The public rollout of 20,000 doses of the Chinese-manufactured Sinopharm jab – which arrived in the country last month – kicked off Monday morning.

The first dose of the vaccine was administered last Thursday to Chinese nationals residing in Antigua.

Residents using the public vaccination sites can now opt to take either the Sinopharm or the Oxford/AstraZeneca shot.

Sinopharm was given emergency approval by the World Health Organization in May for persons over 18.

But just recently, the company said that its vaccine was approved for emergency use for young people ages three to 17 in China after early and mid-stage clinical trials showed it is safe and can elicit strong immune responses in the age group.

Sinopharm said on Friday that it had completed the first and second stages of clinical trials in Henan province on people ages three to 17, which showed their vaccine was effective and safe.

All trial participants had generated antibodies to tackle the virus after receiving two doses. There were no significant differences in the strength of their immunity when compared with adult counterparts.

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