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‘Sinopharm Vaccines less effective against Omicron Variant’

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…as Lesotho receives its 60,000 doses

Ntsoaki Motaung

Lesotho through the Ministry of Health received 60, 000 doses of Sinopharm from the Sesiu Sa Letšoele Le Beta Poho, a Lesotho private sector led initiative.

The doses are expected to be administered on 30 000 people as each person has to receive two doses of the vaccine.

Speaking at the event to receive the consignment in Maseru, Director General of Health Services, Dr Nyane Letsie said the country now has four different vaccines in names but working towards one goal of fighting covid-19, Sinopharm, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.

“All people have learned that we have made a universal healthcare coverage through health professionals who made sure that they reach to every Mosotho without discriminating them with the environment they leave in,” she said.

Letsie pleaded with parents and guardians to make sure that their children get vaccinated to make sure they are protected against covid-19.

Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer of the National Covid-19 Secretariat (NACOSEC) Thabo Ntoi, stated that, they are very thankful for the Initiative to contribute in the fights against Covid-19.

“We proudly stand to say vaccines play an important part in fighting Covid-19 and we have seen the results since December 2021 to date because covid-19 cases increased but not many people sought intensive care or died,” he said.

For his part, Chairman of Sesiu Sa Letšoele Le Beta Poho Sam Matekane said in August 2021 Sesui shipped in 204, 000 plus Sinopharm Vaccines donated by China and opened their first vaccination station.

“In September we opened our second vaccination site and now we have opened in total three vaccination sites open to every person. One is at Maseru Mall, the other at Pioneer Mall and one at the Shopping center in Mokhotlong. We urge all Basotho to take this opportunity and vaccinate in order for us to turn this pandemic into a mere endemic,” he said.

Meanwhile, research has revealed that Sinopharm is less protective against Omicron Variant.

Chinese researchers revealed although they added the vaccine’s efficacy against Omicron remained unclear.

The study conducted by researchers from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and a Shanghai-based lab specializing in respiratory infectious diseases compared the activity of Sinopharm’s booster vaccine against an older coronavirus strain from Wuhan.

A study by Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine found that a booster shot of Sinopharm produced significantly lower antibodies against omicron, compared with the protection it provided for the variant discovered in Wuhan in early 2020.

“Some countries, including Thailand and the Philippines, that had originally procured China-made vaccines started moving away from Sinovac and Sinopharm in mid-2021 after they were shown to be less effective during waves of the delta variant, in favor of the vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna,” the study posits.

Meanwhile, according to the Africa CDC the vaccine has been authorized by the Chinese National Regulatory Authority (NRA), the National Medicinal Product Administration (NMPA) as well as other regulatory authorities.

“Because WHO has granted Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for the COVID-19 Vaccine BIBP or Sinopharm, the Africa Union and Africa CDC’s Regulatory Taskforce has endorsed the Emergency Use Authorization for the vaccine and the specification is 0.5ml/dose, 1 dose/vial; or 2 doses/vial; or 5 doses/vial. As such, African Union Member States are recommended to waive any review processes and rely directly on the WHO EUL via the African Vaccine Regulatory Forum (AVAREF) managed pathway described.”

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