University of Hong Kong researchers said the Chinese-made Sinovac jab could lead to an increased risk of Bell’s palsy, a disorder characterised by a sudden weakness in facial muscles.

Researchers from the HKU medical school identified an average of 4.8 cases of Bell’s palsy for every 100,000 people who received the CoronaVac vaccine, compared with 2 per 100,000 for the Pfizer/BioNTech shot.

The team reached their findings, which were published in The Lancet on Monday, after comparing cases of Bell’s palsy reported in Hong Kong.

“Our study shows an overall increased risk of Bell’s palsy after CoronaVac vaccination but not after [the Pfizer/BioNTech] vaccination,” the researchers wrote.

The HKU team said the benefits of getting the jab still outweigh the risks, adding that Bell’s palsy is rare and more than 90 per cent of cases can be resolved within nine months following prompt treatment.

However, some patients might suffer from permanently incomplete eye closure, abnormal brows and eyelids and nasal valve collapse, the researchers noted.

(Source: Financial Times)

Indonesian Covid deaths add to questions over Sinovac vaccine

At least 10 out of 26 Indonesian doctors who have died from Covid-19 in June had been fully vaccinated with vaccine Sinovac.

Indonesia, which has relied on the Chinese-made vaccine for its health workers, is struggling with a new surge in coronavirus cases. The latest outbreak, driven by new variants, has overwhelmed hospitals and burial sites in Jakarta and on the island of Java.

In Kudus, a town in central Java, more than 500 medical workers have tested positive for Covid-19 over the last two weeks, including one doctor who died. All were fully vaccinated.

The vaccine was approved for emergency use this month by the World Health Organization, which said efficacy results showed it prevented symptomatic disease in 51% of those vaccinated, and prevented severe Covid-19 and hospitalisation in 100% of the studied population.

However, several countries that have vaccinated a large proportion of their population and used the Chinese-made Sinovac or Sinopharm vaccines as part of their inoculation campaigns have reported recent outbreaks. These include Mongolia, Seychelles, Bahrain and Chile.

Concerns over the efficacy of Sinovac and Sinopharm has exacerbated the problem of vaccine hesitancy in some countries that are reliant on Chinese-made doses.

(Source: The Guardian)