How the Sinopharm vaccine works


The Zimbabwe fact-checking organisation, Zimfact, today released a factsheet on how the Chinese vaccine widely used in Zimbabwe, Sinopharm, works.

Nearly 20 000 people were vaccinated today with 10 166 getting the first dose and 8 953 getting the second and final dose.

So far 539 526 people have been vaccinated once and 170 246 have been fully immunised.

Three people died of coronavirus today after two days without any deaths.

There were 15 new cases and 13 recoveries.

Deaths now stand at 1 579, cases at 38 448 and recoveries at 36 221.

Active cases are down to 648 with 390 in Harare, 96 in Bulawayo and 79 in Matebeleland North.

Below is the factsheet:

ZimFact is publishing a series of fact guides on Covid-19 vaccines as a contribution to the provision of factual information around a pandemic surrounded by so much misinformation.

The Sinopharm vaccine

China’s Sinopharm vaccine received World Health Organisation (WHO) approval for emergency use on Friday, 7 May 2021. Sinopharm joins vaccines produced by Pfizer-BioNTech, AstraZeneca, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson on the list of WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccines.

Zimbabwe approved and began using Sinopharm back in February, when it took delivery of the first of two donated 200 000 dose batches. The Zimbabwe government says it plans to buy more Sinopharm doses from China as it bids to vaccinate 10 million people.

The Sinopharm vaccine was the first to be used in Zimbabwe, which has also licenced another Chinese vaccine, CoronaVac (Sinovac), India’s Covaxin and Russia’s Sputnik V for use.

Like CoronaVac, 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.

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.


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