PSP Advocates for Use of Sinovac Despite Low Efficacy

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Would you opt for a medicine that has 95% chance of curing you or one that has a low efficacy? I think most people will not choose the latter. However, Francis Yuen, secretary-general of the Progress Singapore Party (PSP),seems to think otherwise. Francis opined that Sinovac should be part of the national vaccination program in his recent Facebook post.

Currently, the government allows the use of Sinovac for special cases, but only through private health institutions. Those who choose to receive Sinovac will have to pay out of their own pockets, and since the China-made vaccine is not part of the national vaccine program, those who experienced serious side effects will not be eligible for compensation.

Francis argued that some Singaporeans have doubts of the mRNA technology and would want the option to choose between the traditional vaccine (Sinovac), and the mRNA vaccine (Pfizer/Moderna). Thus, to expedite the vaccination efforts, MOH should include Sinovac as part of the national vaccination program.

Why should we take the risk?

WHO (World Health Organisation) may have approved Sinovac for emergency use, but even China does not know whether Sinovac can prevent onward transmission, and not just serious sickness. Whereas mRNA shots appear to be able do both, reducing outbreaks in the U.S., Israel and other countries. If the Chinese vaccines do not stop transmission in a substantial way, infections could still surge after much of the population has been vaccinated. One can only imagine why China has kept its borders closed despite mass vaccination drives.

There is no reason for MOH to include a vaccine which has low efficacy rates like Sinovac with just 51% efficacy in our national vaccination program. We do not want a scenario whereby those vaccinated with Sinovac are still able to transmit the virus, creating new outbreaks. Singapore needs to tread carefully, a safer option is certainly preferred over unnecessary risks.

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