BEIJING (BLOOMBERG) – China says it saw only 119 cases of adverse events for every million doses of Covid-19 vaccines administered – a rate that is much lower than that reported for some Western vaccines, although there is little information on how the incidents were tracked, categorised and collated in the Asian country.
As many as 31,434 adverse events were reported out of 265 million shots given over the 4½-month period starting in mid-December last year, China’s Centre of Disease Prevention and Control said in a statement on Friday (May 28).
Abnormal reactions accounted for about 17 per cent of total incidents reported while milder side effects such as fever and soreness from injection accounted for the rest.
The data, while noteworthy as it provides the first glimpse into adverse events from Chinese vaccines, has little detail, making it hard to compare this with adverse incidents reported from Western vaccines.
The CDC did not release information on how the incidents were tracked, reported and evaluated in China and if people self-reported these effects or they were collated by health workers.
Britain reported that more than one out of 10 people experienced post-vaccination effects such as fatigue, headache, nausea and fever from Covid-19 vaccines made by Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
In a January report submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System in the United States, adverse events were recorded 0.03 per cent of the time for Moderna’s Covid-19 shots while a December report to the same tracker showed such incidents occurred 0.2 per cent of the time for Pfizer’s vaccine.
Abnormal reactions include damage to organs and serious allergic reactions post inoculation, China’s CDC explained in a separate statement. Only 188 were deemed severe among the 5,356 adverse reports in China.
“Both the normal side effects and abnormal reactions of the Covid-19 vaccines have been found at a lower level than other vaccines China administered in 2019,” the CDC said. “The rate of abnormal reactions is very, very low.”
Five vaccines, including two by state-owned maker Sinopharm and one from Sinovac Biotech, were greenlit for use in the months covered by this report – mid-December to end-April – but the government data does not break down the adverse events by specific shot.