Friday, January 15, 2021

19% or 95%? US expert challenges Pfizer vaccine’s efficacy, triggers debates in China

An illustration shows vials of a COVID-19 vaccine and syringes with the logos of US pharmaceutical company Pfizer and German partner BioNTech. Photo: AFP

Could the Pfizer vaccine's real efficacy be as low as 19 percent, instead of 95 percent as it claims?

Questions raised by Peter Doshi, an assistant professor of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy, have triggered heated discussion on Chinese social media.

Doshi's opinion was disputed among Chinese vaccine experts interviewed by the Global Times. Many experts agreed that Pfizer should provide more raw data for peer review but said Doshi's methodology may be flawed. 

Chinese experts also noted that disputes often arise from clinical trial data of COVID-19 vaccines, given the difference in participant groups and how different pharmaceutical companies define COVID-19 symptoms differently. They said that the efficacy rate of a vaccine should be evaluated in a more comprehensive manner, citing Sinovac as an example.

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