Pfizer’s Covid-19 Vaccine Generated 10 Times More Antibodies Than China’s Sinovac Shot, Hong Kong Study Shows

Topline

People who were inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine had ten times the amount of antibodies compared to those who had received the Chinese-developed Sinovac vaccine, a Hong Kong study has shown, likely offering evidence about the varying levels of protection offered by different Covid jabs.

Key Facts

According to the study published in The Lancet, the difference in concentrations of neutralizing antibodies “could translate into substantial differences in vaccine effectiveness.”

The study was based on samples collected from 1,442 healthcare workers working in medical clinics, public and private hospitals in Hong Kong.

The recipients of the Sinovac had “similar or lower” levels of antibodies compared to patients who had been infected by Covid-19 and had managed to fight off the disease, AFP reported.

The study only looked at concentrations of neutralizing antibodies—which are not the only measure of a vaccine’s effectiveness—and did not include any data on T cells and other potential markers of protection. 

Crucial Quote

One of the report’s authors, epidemiologist Ben Cowling, told AFP that people should still get vaccinated with the Sinovac shot if that was their only option as it would still offer some protection, adding: “Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.”

Tangent

The Hong Kong study other research from around the world that vaccines using the mRNA technology—like Pfizer and Moderna—may offer more robust protection against the coronavirus and its variants compared to the more traditional inactivated virus shots. However, these viral vector vaccines are considered a critical tool for vaccinating most of the world are they are both cheaper and easier to produce and store.

Big Number

28%. That’s the percentage of Hong Kong’s population that has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 so far, according to the government’s official tracker. Over 40% of the population has received at least one dose so far.

Key Background

As Beijing has moved to crack down more heavily on dissent in Hong Kong, Covid-19 vaccines have emerged as a political flashpoint. At the start of the vaccination campaign, the city’s Beijing-backed leaders publicly opted to receive the Sinovac vaccine. The citizens of Hong Kong, however, have been far less trusting of the Chinese developed jab. According to a survey reported in January, 56% of people were willing to take the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine while only 29.5% were willing to take the Sinovac shot. Despite having adequate supplies, only 1.8 million Sinovac shots have been administered in the city so far, compared to 2.6 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, the AFP report added. Back in March, the city’s authorities ejected a private clinic from the city’s vaccine rollout program after it reportedly recommended Pfizer shot to patients over the Sinovac one.

Further Reading

BioNTech produces 10 times more antibodies than China’s Sinovac: study (AFP)

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