A Chinese vaccine expert has allegedly called Sinopharm's COVID-19 vaccine the "most unsafe in the world", claiming that it has 73 side effects. The inactivated vaccine, BBIBP-CorV, is produced by China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a subsidiary of China National Pharmaceutical Group Corporation (Sinopharm).
The vaccine was officially approved by China's National Medical Products Administration on December 30, 2020, for general use in the country. Sinopharm announced last month that phase three trials of the vaccine showed that it was 79 percent effective against the Coronavirus caused disease.
However, Dr. Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based vaccine expert, claimed in his Weibo page that the jab, developed by Beijing's state-run drugmaker, had 73 side effects, reported Hong Kong's Ming Pao newspaper. After his claims went viral outside mainland China, Dr. Tao's Weibo account was deleted by the authorities. Now, his page states "this content cannot be viewed due to violation of regulations."
According to Dr. Tao, he read the manual of the Sinopharm vaccine. "I took in a long cold breath, and counted the conditions listed in the 'adverse reactions' column," he said. Then, he noticed that there were 73 local/ systemic adverse reactions associated with the vaccine.
The expert found that in addition to pain at the injection site and headaches—which are quite common vaccine reactions—there were severe side effects listed that were "more likely to occur," including high blood pressure, loss of vision, loss of taste, delayed menstruation and urinary incontinence.
The vaccine expert said that the 73 adverse reactions to the Sinopharm jab made it what he described as the "most unsafe vaccine in the world in one fell swoop." His post on the Chinese social media site added that no inactivated vaccine had such adverse reactions as this one and the number of the side effects was "absolutely unprecedented."
Dr. Tao explained that as long as the side effects were listed in the vaccine manual, the recipients would not receive any compensation if they occur. The company will be immune to lawsuits from people seeking compensation for experiencing dangerous side effects. As per reports, the Chinese doctor also said that provincial governments would provide recompense and face most of the blame if a major issue occurs with the vaccine.
Dr. Tao, 43, has been working at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Shanghai since 2000 August. He is responsible for vaccine management.
Was He Forced to Apologize?
The story doesn't end here because Dr. Tao later apologized to his fellow countrymen for his "imprudent" comments on the vaccine. According to the Chinese state-run media outlet Global Times, Dr. Tao apparently clarified that the inactivated Chinese vaccines are "safe". The report stated, "VOA has twisted his words to mean the opposite in their news article."
It said the expert had posted sarcastic comments on the Sinopharm vaccine meant as a disclaimer for hostile parties. But his comments were wrongly interpreted by VOA on its site.
"I have never said that inactivated vaccines lacked safety and efficacy. Instead, I frequently emphasized that inactivated vaccines produced by China are safe in multiple articles to dismiss public concerns over vaccinations," Dr. Tao told Global Times.
According to reports, he also made another post on the Chinese social media site Weibo in which the Chinese doctor refuted his own allegations against the vaccine. "The attempts to discredit the image of Chinese vaccines' safety really makes me annoyed," he said.
However, considering the history of silencing people by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), it is possible that Dr. Tao was also asked to change his point of view in terms of vaccine efficacy.
In early 2020, the Coronavirus whistleblower, Dr. Li Wenliang, who tried to warn people about the virus spread, was detained by police in Wuhan on January 3 for spreading "rumors". He was then forced to sign a police document to admit that he had breached the law and had "seriously disrupted social order." Silencing the doctor did work, but later Chinese authority apologized to Dr. Li's family months after his death due to COVID-19.