A health worker vaccinates a man against the Covid-19 coronavirus with the Sinopharm vaccine, on a mobile vaccination bus outside a residential area in Beijing. (AFP / Nicolas Asfouri)

Posts falsely claim China ditched Covid-19 jabs in favour of 'inhaled vaccines'

Copyright AFP 2017-2021. All rights reserved.

Facebook posts circulating in May 2021 claim that China has abandoned Covid-19 jabs in favour of a vaccine that can be inhaled. The claim is false: while a Chinese vaccine company is carrying out trials for an “inhaled vaccine”, the product has not been rolled out as of May 14, 2021. China has continued to use traditional Covid-19 jabs and has made no indication it will abandon them.

The claim was shared here on Facebook on May 3, 2021.

“China has rejected the use of the vaccine to prevent Covid-19 as it has successfully researched the “inhaled vaccine” where you can inhale the vaccines to your lungs, without injecting it to your body,” the Thai-language caption reads. 

It claims this type of vaccine will create an antibody in the respiratory tract to “eliminate the virus so that the cells won’t divide”.

The post features a Chinese-language video with Thai subtitles.

At the start of the video, Thai text on the screen reads: “First in the world, the inhaled vaccine is here. No need to inject, it is China’s initiative - so smart!”

InhaledVaccine

The World Health Organization (WHO) approved China’s Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine for emergency use on May 7, 2021. It was the first Chinese-made jab to get the health agency’s green light. 

The WHO has already given emergency use to five other vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and the AstraZeneca jab being produced at sites in India and South Korea, which it counts separately.

The video was shared alongside a similar claim on Facebook here, here, here, and here.

The claim is false: Chinese officials have not yet approved the use of "inhaled vaccines" for Covid-19.

Inhaled vaccine

Keyword searches on the official sites of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Health Commission found no mention of inhaled vaccine use.

CanSino Biologics, the company which develops the inhaled vaccine said the product was still under development.

On March 22, 2021, the company announced the clinical trial application for the inhaled vaccine had been approved by the National Medical Products Administration.

“The safety and efficacy of the Recombinant COVID-19 Vaccine (Adenovirus Type 5 Vector) for inhalation is subject to confirmation by clinical trials and we cannot guarantee that we will ultimately develop or market the Recombinant COVID-19 Vaccine (Adenovirus Type 5 Vector) for inhalation successfully,” it said. 

The Paper, a state-owned Chinese news website reported on April 19, that the results of clinical trials for inhaled vaccines are expected to be available later this year.

Covid-19 jabs

China has administered more than 340 million doses of coronavirus vaccines nationally, the National Health Commission said on May 12, 2021.

On April 11, 2021, AFP reported that China aimed to fully inoculate 40 percent of its 1.4 billion population by June.

COVID-19