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Here’s Why China Still Hasn’t Given Up On Lockdowns

Chinese President Xi Jinping is sticking with lockdowns while the West returns to normalcy because China’s national vaccine is relatively ineffective at protecting against COVID-19, a medical expert told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

China’s lockdowns, missing vaccine drug trial data and the failure of its “vaccine diplomacy” program are evidence that Sinopharm, China’s national pharmaceutical company, developed and marketed an inferior vaccine, Prof. Peter Pitts, president of the Center for Medicine in the Public Interest, told TheDCNF. Pitts argued that Sinopharm’s vaccine exposes patients who contract COVID-19 to greater health risks than what individuals who have received vaccines developed in the U.S. would face.

“You don’t lock down your country for an endemic where the symptoms are mild and the length is transient. You lock down your economy for a deadly pandemic,” Pitts said. “They must know something that we don’t know, which is that their vaccine is not working.”

Pitts told TheDCNF during his career he’d often interacted with China’s National Medical Products Administration and also testified before Congress on issues related to counterfeit drugs in China.

Pitts pointed to China’s lockdowns as one of three indicators Sinopharm’s vaccine is “subpar.”

Despite food shortages, protests, looting and an announcement 15 districts had achieved zero transmissions Tuesday, many residents of Shanghai, China’s financial hub, have reportedly remained in lockdown since April 5. Meanwhile, Beijing residents reportedly fear a city-wide lockdown, following an outbreak in Chaoyang district which began some time before April 24, according to Reuters.

China’s unwillingness to share Sinopharm’s drug trial data also indicates the vaccine is relatively ineffective at protecting against COVID-19, Pitts said. Peruvian researchers analyzed Sinopharm’s vaccine and determined it was roughly 50% effective, Reuters reported, sitting well below Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech’s effectiveness which surpassed 90%.

“Beijing isn’t concerned with people stealing their [intellectual property] (IP) — they steal everybody else’s IP. You don’t release data because the data is bad,” said Pitts.

China’s attempts at exporting its vaccine have also faltered, indicating Sinopharm’s relatively ineffective vaccine is the true source of China’s lockdowns, Pitts argued. The Chinese government began exporting its COVID-19 vaccine in October 2020, allegedly in exchange for material or social compensation.

“A lot of these countries who are in financial straits saw an opportunity to have their countries vaccinated more or less for free and it was a very sexy proposition,” said Pitts. “Yet, all of a sudden China’s ‘vaccine diplomacy’ has just vanished from the conversation.”

After China exported millions of doses — primarily to Africa — countries, such as Chile, Bahrain, Mongolia and Indonesia, experienced a surge of COVID-19 cases, The New York Times reported. Pitts noted that many countries which used Sinopharm’s vaccine, such as the Philippines, have since begun importing Western boosters.

“This isn’t just about China, it’s about all the other countries that are using this vaccine,” Pitts said. “The other countries that bought into the ‘vaccine diplomacy’ of China must understand they’ve got to now write that off and figure out another strategy.”

Sinopharm did not respond to multiple requests for comment from TheDCNF. The Chinese Embassy did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.

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