JM | Jan 17, 2022

Sinopharm Vaccine – What you need to know

Ategie Edwards

Ategie Edwards / Our Today

Vials labelled “AstraZeneca, Pfizer – Biontech, Johnson&Johnson, Sputnik V coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine” are seen in this illustration picture taken May 2, 2021. (File Photo: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration)

Although having available several vaccines, Jamaica still suffers from a low vaccination rate. This low take-up may not be the result of the types of vaccines available, but instead could be attributed to the lack of knowledge the public has on each of them.

The Health Ministry in the past has had to dispose of hundreds of thousands of expired vaccines. While there are those who have labelled themselves as anti-vaxxers, there are others who are only vaccine-hesitant.

Our Today, in a series of articles, will be sharing the need-to-know, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), on the different vaccines available in Jamaica – Sinopharm, Johnson and Johnson, Pfizer and AstraZeneca.


(Photo: GIS Barbados)

Who created the vaccine?

Sinopharm was jointly developed by a state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products (BIBP) in the year 2020. This inactive vaccine, according to Precision Vaccinations, is made of virus particles that lack disease-producing capabilities.

Who can take the vaccine?

The vaccine can be offered to persons who have had COVID in the past.

WHO recommends the use of Sinopharm in pregnant women when the benefits of vaccination to the pregnant woman outweigh the potential risks. Those 18 years and older may also take the vaccine.

Who is the vaccine not recommended for?

According to the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE) , those with a history of anaphylaxis (a severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction), to any component of the vaccine should not take it.

Anyone with a body temperature of over 38.5ºC should postpone vaccination until their fever has subsided. Those under 18 years should not be administered the Sinopharm vaccine.

What is the recommended dosage?

The recommended dosage for the Sinopharm vaccine stands at two. The doses are be taken 3-4 weeks apart. If the second dose is administered less than three weeks after the first, that dose does not need to be repeated.

However, if the second dose is given beyond the four weeks, it must be administered at the soonest possible time.

Those aged 60 and over should be offered a third dose of the vaccine as part of an extension of the primary series

(Photo: Facebook @MOHGuyana)

Can this vaccine be ‘mixed and matched’ with other vaccines?

According to the SAGE, two heterologous (having a different relation), doses of the COVID-19 vaccine are accepted as complete primary series.

SAGE also said that both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca can be taken as a second dose, following the first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine, dependent on product availability.

Side Effects?

Side effects have been described as mild and predictable. Injection site pain, fatigue, headache, lethargy and tenderness may experienced after being administered the vaccine.

How efficacious is the vaccine?

Trials have shown that the Sinopharm vaccine administered with an interval of 21 days has 79 per cent efficacy.

To Be Determined…

As testing continues, there is no substantiated data to suggest the Sinopharm vaccine can work against new variants and prevent infection or transmission. Furthermore, at present, the Sinopharm vaccine is not able to be compared to others.


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