Advertisements claiming to sell two kinds of Covid-19 vaccine have appeared on the WeChat social media platform.
“Contact me if you need the coronavirus vaccine. It can be made for export and production volume is low so people must queue. It will be officially launched on September 2,” said one advertisement claiming to sell a product manufactured by Sinovac Biotech.
But Sinovac spokesman Liu Peicheng told the South China Morning Post the WeChat advertisement was not authentic. He said Sinovac’s vaccine was currently in phase 3 clinical studies in Brazil and Indonesia and had not been approved for market.
Social media users are warned against falling for advertisements claiming to sell Covid-19 vaccines. No such vaccine is on the market. Photo: Weibo
Liu did not respond to the question of whether the vaccines were real and whether they were produced by Sinovac.
The other vaccine being touted was claimed to be from the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products. It was advertised at 498 yuan (US$71) a dose and potential buyers were advised they should take three doses.
“Health care workers and people going abroad can use it on a priority basis,” the advertisement said.
The Wuhan institute and its parent company China National Biotec Group could not be reached for comment. But earlier the institute told Shanghai-based Jiefang Daily that its vaccine was still in the clinical trial stage and not on the market yet.
China’s vaccine industry has long been mired in quality problems and scandals, a worry that has caused misgivings among the population
In a move to restore public confidence, China has been ramping up regulation for vaccines and in 2018 it imposed a record fine of 9.1 billion yuan (US$1.3 billion) on one of the country’s biggest rabies vaccine makers, Changchun Changsheng Biotechnology. The firm was ordered to stop production when it was revealed faulty vaccines had been given to hundreds of thousands of children, triggering widespread public anger.
According to the Vaccine Administration Law, organisations and individuals outside the government’s disease control departments are not allowed to supply vaccines to a third-party vaccination agency.