China’s Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine, Which Uses an Old Technology, Arrives in S’pore But It’s Not Approved for Use Yet

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We spent most of 2020 hoping for just one effective COVID-19 vaccine to be produced, as we could only practise social distancing and avoid travelling for so long.

Now, we have more vaccines than we can count on our hands.

It’s quite a remarkable scientific feat, given how long vaccines usually take to be developed.

What’s more, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said last month that Singapore has secured enough vaccines for all citizens, PRs and long-term residents, with supplies due to arrive by the third quarter of this year.

Now, another vaccine has arrived, and it’s one the authorities haven’t even approved yet.

China’s Sinovac COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives in S’pore But It’s Not Approved for Use Yet

The first shipment of China’s Sinovac vaccine arrived on Singapore’s shores on Tuesday (23 Feb), the third COVID-19 vaccine to make its way to the country.

However, the vaccine has not yet been authorised for use, as Sinovac has only just started submitting initial data to the Health Sciences Authority (HSA), the Ministry of Health (MOH) said.

Once all the necessary information about the vaccine is submitted, HSA will conduct a scientific assessment of the manufacturing process, safety, and efficacy of the vaccine.

One requirement that vaccine makers have to meet is monitoring the longer-term efficacy of vaccines to determine the duration of protection against COVID-19.

Another condition is that they follow up on the safety of their vaccines for a longer period of time, in order to determine its full safety profile.

Uses More Traditional Vaccine Method

The only two vaccines which have been approved for use in Singapore so far are Pfizer-BioNTech’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines.

Both vaccines tapped on new technology called mRNA to make their vaccines. This involves injecting part of the coronavirus’ genetic code into the body, triggering the body to produce viral proteins, but not the whole virus. This will train the immune system to attack the virus.

Conversely, Sinovac’s vaccine uses a more traditional inactivated vaccine, which works by using killed viral particles to expose the body’s immune system to the virus without triggering a serious disease response.

This type of vaccine has been used to inoculate people against polio.

An advantage of using Sinovac’s vaccine is that it can be stored in a standard refrigerator at 2-8°C.

On the other hand, Moderna’s vaccine needs to be stored at -20°C and Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine at -70°C.


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Bilateral Relations Sets Fine Example For Other Countries

On its website, the Chinese embassy said both countries have helped each other during the COVID-19 pandemic, setting a fine example for cooperation against the virus among countries.

“China will continue to work with Singapore to enhance cooperation on vaccine and epidemic control, build a global community of health for all, and win the final victory in the fight against the epidemic,” it wrote.

The authorities recently announced that all Singapore residents will likely be offered the vaccine from April, once seniors have been inoculated.

Feature Image: rafapress / Shutterstock.com

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