The Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine has received interim recommendations from the WHO Strategic Advisory Group of Experts (SAGE). A summary of those interim recommendations is provided in this article.

Who can receive vaccinations?

For anyone over the age of 18, the vaccine is safe and effective.The WHO Prioritization Roadmap and the WHO Values Framework stipulate that immunocompromised individuals, older adults, and health care workers should receive priority.

People who have been infected with COVID-19 in the past can receive the Sinopharm vaccine. However, following the infection, individuals may choose to defer vaccination for three months.

Should women who are pregnant or breastfeeding receive vaccines?

The COVID-19 vaccine Sinopharm’s data on pregnant women are insufficient to evaluate the vaccine’s efficacy or the risks associated with vaccination during pregnancy. Nevertheless, this vaccine is an inactivated vaccine containing an adjuvant that is frequently utilised in numerous other vaccines with a documented good safety profile, including vaccines administered to pregnant women.Therefore, it is widely expected that Sinopharm’s COVID-19 vaccine will be as effective in pregnant women as it is in women of comparable age who are not pregnant.

In the interim, the WHO advises pregnant women to use the COVID-19 vaccine Sinopharm when the benefits of vaccination outweigh the potential risks.Information regarding the risks of COVID-19 during pregnancy should be made available to pregnant women in order to assist them in making this determination;the likely advantages of vaccination in the context of local epidemiology;as well as the limitations of the available safety data for pregnant women.The WHO does not recommend having a pregnancy test before getting vaccinated.Because of vaccination, the WHO does not advise delaying pregnancy or considering abortion.

It is expected that the effectiveness of vaccines will be comparable among adults and breastfeeding women.The WHO recommends the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine to adults and breastfeeding women alike. After getting vaccinated, women should continue breastfeeding.

Who is not recommended to get the vaccine?

The vaccine should not be administered to:

Individuals who have a history of anaphylaxis to any component.

Individuals who have a history of anaphylaxis to any component.

Vaccination should be delayed until a fever has passed for anyone with a body temperature above 38.5 C.

Vaccination should be delayed until a fever has passed for anyone with a body temperature above 38.5 C.

Is it risky?

The data on the vaccine’s quality, safety, and efficacy have been thoroughly evaluated by SAGE, and it has been recommended for use by adults over the age of 18.

Due to the small number of participants in clinical trials, there are limited safety data for individuals over 60.Countries considering using this vaccine on people over 60 should keep active safety monitoring, even though there are no expected differences in the vaccine’s safety profile between younger and older age groups.

How well does the vaccine work?

Two doses, given at intervals of 21 days, have an efficacy of 79% against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection 14 or more days after the second dose, according to a large multi-country Phase 3 trial.79% of vaccines prevented hospitalisation.

The trial was not designed or powered to demonstrate effectiveness against severe disease in pregnant women, people with comorbid conditions, or people over 60 years old.In the trial, women were underrepresented.At the time of evidence review, the median amount of follow-up time was 112 days.

Data from two additional efficacy trials are not yet available.

What is the suggested dose?

Sinopharm vaccine should be administered intramuscularly in two doses of 0.5 milliliters, according to SAGE.

As part of an extension of the primary series, SAGE suggests giving people over the age of 60 an additional dose of the Sinopharm vaccine.Under 60-year-olds do not require an additional dose, according to current data.

SAGE suggests giving severe and moderately immunocompromised individuals an additional vaccine dose.This is because this group has a higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease and is less likely to respond well to vaccination after a standard primary vaccination series.

Between the first and second doses of a primary series, WHO recommends a gap of three to four weeks.It is not necessary to give the second dose again if it is given less than three weeks after the first one.The second dose should be administered as soon as possible if it is delayed by more than four weeks.SAGE advises nations to begin with the oldest age groups when administering the third dose, with the goal of achieving the highest possible 2-dose coverage for the over-60 population.

Is a second dose of this vaccine necessary?

In accordance with the WHO Prioritization Roadmap, a booster dose may be considered four to six months after the completion of the primary vaccination series, beginning with the higher priority-use groups.

After more and more evidence that the vaccine’s effectiveness against mild, asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection has decreased over time, the benefits of getting a booster shot are being recognized.

It is possible to use either homologous (a vaccine produced by a different company than Sinopharm) or heterologous (a Sinopharm booster dose).In comparison to homologous boosting, a Bahraini study found that heterologous boosting produced a superior immune response.

Is it possible to "mix and match" this vaccine with other vaccines?

As a complete primary series, SAGE accepts two heterologous doses of the WHO EUL COVID-19 vaccine.

Depending on product availability, either

WHO EUL COVID-19 mRNA vaccine

  • Pfizer
  • Moderna

WHO EUL COVID-19 vectored vaccine

  • AstraZeneca Vaxzevria
  • Janssen

Can be used as a second dose following a first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine to ensure equivalent or favourable immunogenicity or vaccine effectiveness.

Does it stop infections from spreading?

There is currently a lack of substantial data regarding Sinopharm’s impact on the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the COVID-19 virus.

In the interim, WHO emphasizes the necessity of maintaining and expanding effective public health measures:wearing a mask, keeping one’s body apart, washing one’s hands, taking care of one’s cough and respiratory tract, avoiding crowds, and making sure there is enough airflow.

Is it effective against new SARS-CoV-2 strains?

The WHO Prioritization Roadmap says that this vaccine should be used right now, according to SAGE.

WHO will adjust its recommendations as new data become available.This vaccine has not yet been evaluated in light of the widespread distribution of concerning variants.

What distinguishes this vaccine from other vaccines currently in use?

Due to the different ways the studies were designed, we are unable to compare the vaccines head-to-head. However, all of the vaccines that have been added to the WHO Emergency Use List are extremely effective at preventing COVID-19-related severe illness and hospitalization.