KEY POINTS

  • 11 in every 100,000 Sinovac recipients died of COVID-19 in Singapore: study
  • Only 1 in every 100,000 Moderna recipients died of the virus
  • Health Minister Ong Ye Kung cautioned about the study's small sample size

People who received China's Sinovac vaccine have seen the highest number of COVID-19 deaths than those who received other COVID-19 vaccine shots, a study conducted by Singaporean health officials showed.

The study found that 11 in every 100,000 people who received the Sinovac shot died from COVID-19. In comparison, that number fell to 7.8 among Sinopharm recipients, 6.2 for those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech shot and 1 in people who were administered the Moderna vaccine.

However, Singapore Health Minister Ong Ye Kung cautioned that the study had a small sample size and did not account for other mortality factors such as the recipient’s age and the timing of the doses.

The data is likely to fuel more concerns about the effectiveness of the Chinese vaccine, which some studies have found to be inadequate in protecting recipients against the Omicron variant.

A Singapore study published in December found the Sinovac CoronaVac vaccine to be only 60% effective in preventing severe COVID-19. The number is much lower than that of vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which were 90% and 97% effective against severe disease, respectively.

"These results support the need for three doses of Sinovac-CoronaVac vaccines as a primary series to attain better protection against severe disease, defined as requiring oxygen, intensive care unit (ICU) care and death due to COVID-19," Singapore’s National Centre for Infectious Disease and the Ministry of Health, which conducted the study, said in a statement.

The study was conducted between Oct. 1 and Nov. 21 and covered data from 1.25 million individuals aged 40 and above who received two doses of COVID-19 vaccines. 

A separate study conducted by researchers from Yale University, the Dominican Republic and other institutions found that a two-dose regimen of Sinovac vaccine did not show any detectable neutralization against the Omicron variant.

The same study also found that people who received two doses of the Sinovac vaccine and one booster dose of the Pfizer vaccine only produced antibody levels similar to those who only received two doses of an mRNA vaccine. 

Over the past week, Singapore has recorded 5,357 new COVID-19 infections and 9 new deaths. The country has logged a total of 285,647 cases and 838 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The trial will test the efficacy of combining an 'inactivated' vaccine made by China's Sinovac with a DNA-based one The trial will test the efficacy of combining an 'inactivated' vaccine made by China's Sinovac with a DNA-based one Photo: AFP / Lillian SUWANRUMPHA