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Sinopharm Vaccine
Jun 16, 2021 | Views:208028  |
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The Sinopharm Vaccine
China’s Sinopharm vaccine received World Health Organization (WHO) approval for emergency use on May 7th, 2021. Sinopharm joins vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson on the list of WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines.
Trinidad and Tobago approved and began using Sinopharm on May 21st, 2021 after it took delivery of the first 100,000 doses of the vaccine on May 19th, 2021 and an additional 200,000 doses on June 14th, 2021.
The Sinopharm vaccine was developed using the traditional method, by means of an inactivated virus. In an inactivated vaccine, the virus - in this case the coronavirus causing COVID-19 - is killed or modified in such a way that it is unable to replicate. It cannot cause disease and is, therefore, suitable for those with a compromised immune system.
The inactivation is usually done using heat, radiation or chemicals to destroy the pathogen’s genetic material, which stops it from replicating.
While inactivated vaccines can trigger a strong immune response, 
They usually require a person to have booster shots to ensure ongoing protection.
Who developed it?
The state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products (BIBP) jointly developed the Sinopharm vaccine under Sinopharm’s vaccine and bioscience subsidiary, China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
What’s the recommended dosage?
The Sinopharm vaccine is administered in 2 doses (0.5 ml) given in the arm. A period of 3-4 weeks between the first and second dose. If the second dose is administered less than 3 weeks after the first, the dose does not need to be repeated. If administration of the second dose is delayed beyond 4 weeks, it should be given at the earliest possible opportunity. It is recommended that all vaccinated individuals receive two doses.
Is it safe?
The WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) thoroughly assessed the data on quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine and has recommended it can be safely used in persons aged 18 and above.
What is vaccine efficacy and effectiveness?
Vaccine efficacy and effectiveness are often confused and used interchangeably.
Efficacy measures the performance of a vaccine measured during a clinical trial, while effectiveness refers to how well the vaccine does in the real world.
WHO experts who reviewed the Sinopharm vaccine’s data say its efficacy for symptomatic and hospitalized disease was estimated to be 79%, for all age groups combined. 
Does it work against new variants of SARS-CoV-2 virus?
As new data becomes available, WHO will update recommendations accordingly. This vaccine has not yet been evaluated in the context of circulation of widespread variants of concern.
Does it prevent infection and transmission?
There is currently no substantive data available related to the impact of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine on transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 disease.
Who should be vaccinated first?
While COVID-19 vaccine supplies are limited, the following persons are prioritised for vaccination in Trinidad and Tobago.
Who should not take the vaccine at this time?
Additionally persons with comorbidities (e.g. Heart disease, Hypertension, Diabetes and Cancer) should consult their physician before taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
The WHO also reminds of the need to maintain and strengthen public health measures that work: masking, physical distancing, hand washing, respiratory and cough hygiene, avoiding crowds and ensuring adequate ventilation.
Sources: World Health Organization, Sinopharm Group, Ministry of Health Trinidad & Tobago.
Message courtesy the Human Resources Division
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