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China Must Stop Hiding Its Vaccine Data

Eyck Freymann

By Eyck Freymann

In a parable in the Han dynasty philosophical text The Huainanzi, a fool goes to the market to buy a pair of shoes. Finding the shoes too small, he cuts off his toes rather than admit that the shoes don’t fit. China is doing a similar thing with its COVID-19 vaccines, which reportedly did not perform as well in clinical trials as their Western competitors. Fearing embarrassment, Chinese vaccine makers are cherry-picking the data rather than publishing the results in full.

Holding back clinical data is a scientific and political mistake. Much of the developing world has only limited access to Western-made vaccines and will depend heavily on those produced in China. The country’s vaccine makers must not undermine confidence in their products at a time when so much of the world desperately needs them.


Chinese vaccine makers are hiding their clinical data from the world. They published their Phase 1 and Phase 2 data in reputable, peer-reviewed journals such as JAMA and The Lancet and their preclinical data in Science. But they have not published data on their crucial large-cohort Phase 3 trials. In contrast, Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Russia’s Gamaleya Institute have all published their Phase 3 data in…

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