The fourth vaccine Chinese CoronaVac was delivered to Kazakhstan. What is known about it?

June 2, 2021, 17:30
On June 2, WHO approved a vaccine from the Chinese Sinovac marked "for use in emergency situations". On the eve the Ministry of Health of Kazakhstan announced the receipt of 500 thousand doses of this vaccine.

According to WHO, 51 percent of those who received the Chinese CoronaVac vaccine had no further signs of infection. It is reported that even in the case of COVID-19 infection contamination, the vaccine will protect against severe clinical course and, accordingly, will prevent hospitalization.

WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus announced at a press conference that CoronaVac is a safe, effective and high-quality vaccine.

The vaccine consists of two doses, which are administered at intervals of two to four weeks. The temperature from +2 to +8 degrees is sufficient for transportation and storage.

"The simplicity of storage will make CoronaVac the most profitable option in the condition of absence of finances," Gebreyesus noted.

CoronaVac's approval for emergency use will allow it to participate in the global Covax vaccine distribution program. The program is aimed at delivering vaccines to poor countries.

CoronaVac is the second Chinese vaccine approved by WHO. A month ago, a vaccine developed by the Chinese company Sinopharm was included in the list. This vaccine, produced in the United Arab Emirates and called Hayat-Vax, is also received by Kazakhstanis.

Apart from these two Chinese vaccines WHO list include six more vaccines, namely Pfizer /BioNTech, Moderna, Janssen и Oxford/AstraZeneca. Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines manufactured in the European Union, South Korea and India are registered separately.

The Russian Sputnik V vaccine, widely used in Kazakhstan, is not included in this list. Domestic QazVac is also not yet among the vaccines considered by WHO.

WHO recommends CoronaVac for vaccination of persons over 18 years of age. The organization notes that elderly people can also receive the vaccine.


The Sinovac vaccine is inactivated, developed in an old and simple way. The vaccine delivers the killed coronavirus to the human body and causes an immune reaction. In this respect, CoronaVac is similar to Kazakhstan's QazVac vaccine. The Chinese Hayat-Vax vaccine, manufactured in the United Arab Emirates, was developed in a similar way.

For comparison, the Russian "Sputnik V" vaccine uses a modified adenovirus (vector) that does not harm humans. The gene of the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is introduced into the vector. Oxford/AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines were developed in a similar way.

Pfizer and Moderna vaccines use matrix RNA (mRNA) molecules. These molecules contain part of the genetic code of the coronavirus. The use of matrix RNA molecules in the development of vaccines is a new technology.

Vector vaccines and mRNA vaccines are developed in a more complex way, and they are usually more effective than vaccines created in the traditional way. But the latter vaccines are easier to transport and store.

According to Reuters, CoronaVac vaccine is approved in more than 40 countries. The manufacturer of the Sinovac vaccine claims that it has sent 600 million doses to customers, 430 million of them have already been vaccinated.

The WHO is studying another Chinese vaccine. However, there is no data yet on the results of the vaccine developed by CanSino Biologics.


Due to China's lack of openness and the fact that the fight against the epidemic has taken a political character, the scientific community was a little skeptical about the data on the effectiveness of the CoronaVac vaccine. The authoritative medical publication Lancet published information only about the first and second stages of vaccine trials. Judging by them, as a result of the tests, which involved 144 people in the first stage and 600 people in the second stage, it was concluded that "the vaccine can be used in emergency situations."

The third phase of CoronaVac vaccine trials has been carried out in several countries, and different results have been obtained in different countries. 13 thousand people participated in the test in Turkey, the efficiency was 84 percent. 10.5 million people received the Chinese vaccine in Chile, the effectiveness was 67 percent. 1,620 people participated in Indonesia, the efficiency was about 65 percent. 12,688 people participated in Brazil, the efficiency rate made up 51 percent.

These percentages are an indicator of the COVID-19 incidence after vaccination. In other words, the percentage of vaccine effectiveness is the percentage of test participants who subsequently did not become infected with the coronavirus.

In addition, the impact on indicators such as hospitalization, intensive care and mortality is calculated. In Chile, for example, the overall effectiveness of the vaccine was 67 percent, but protection from hospitalization was 85 percent, protection from resuscitation was 89 percent, and survival was 80 percent.

On May 31, the American Wall Street Journal reported that a trial in Brazil showed that CoronaVac reduces mortality by 95 percent. According to the publication, massive vaccination was carried out in the city of Serrana with a population of 45 thousand people from February to April. Subsequently, the mortality rate in the city sharply decreased from February to mid-May. Symptomatic illnesses and hospitalizations also decreased by 80 and 86 percent, respectively.

A few days earlier, the AFP news agency reported that the death rate in Uruguay, where the population was massively vaccinated with CoronaVac, decreased by 97 percent. The Chinese vaccine was imported to the country on March 1.

However, the initial report of the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) on CoronaVac (published at the end of April 2021) states that some data are still missing.

"We strongly believe that two doses of CoronaVac (ages 18-59) are effective in preventing PCR-confirmed infections among adults, but there is little information about safety and efficacy against other variants of the virus for pregnant women and the elderly," the SAGE report says.


The ministry announced that the Chinese vaccine was delivered to the country on Tuesday, June 1. According to the ministry, the new two-dose vaccine can be received by persons over 18 years old. The interval between doses is 14-28 days.

The vaccine was ordered by SK-Pharmacy on behalf of the Ministry of Health. Assel Medet, the press secretary of SK-Pharmacy, informed Azattyk that the first batch was designed for 250 thousand people and one set of two doses of the vaccine cost 7,055 tenge. According to the representative of the company, the order was executed by "Medservice Plus" LLP.

The Ministry of Health stated that the newly imported vaccine will be available at all vaccination centers.

This is the fourth coronavirus vaccine available at option to Kazakhstanis. The vaccination campaign in the country began on February 1. Initially, people were vaccinated with the Russian Sputnik V vaccine. On February 23, the Kazakh version of the Russian vaccine manufactured in Karaganda entered the market. Two months later, they started using the third vaccine. On April 26, the domestic QazVac vaccine, which did not pass the third stage of testing, was included in the list of vaccines for Kazakhstanis.

At the end of April, it became known that the Samruk-Kazyna Foundation had purchased a vaccine called Hayat-Vax from the Chinese company Sinopharm. The company stated that it had purchased a million doses of the vaccine, which was manufactured in the United Arab Emirates, "primarily for the needs" of the employees of this foundation. But in the following days, Health Minister Alexei Tsoi announced that the vaccines purchased by Samruk-Kazyna were available to everyone.

In Kazakhstan, with a population of about 19 million people, 10 million people can be vaccinated. As of June 2, one million 96 thousand 310 people have already received two doses of the vaccine. More than 2.1 million people have received at least one dose.

In recent days, according to official data, the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus infection has been gradually decreasing. If in the second half of April the number of infected registered daily was about 2.9 thousand people, then this week this figure is less than 1.5 thousand. Nevertheless, more than 20 people die from COVID-19 every day.

Since the outbreak, 444 thousand people have been confirmed infected with coronavirus in Kazakhstan. By PCR, the virus was diagnosed in 389 thousand people, in 55 thousand — based on symptoms (coronavirus pneumonia). At least 7,365 people have died from the disease. There is also data on patients with coronavirus infection, but who died from other diseases. However, the Ministry of Health does not regularly publish such data. In response to Azattyk's request regarding this issue in April, the ministry reported that as of March 31, 2021, 1,619 such cases had been registered.