Bahrain said on Sunday that it has approved the use of a Chinese coronavirus vaccine, following its earlier approval of a vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech.
Bahrain’s state-run news agency said the Sinopharm vaccine will be made available in the island kingdom off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf.
However, it offered few details on study results of the vaccine, in line with the United Arab Emirates, which last week announced that the vaccine is 86% effective.
The Emirati statement provided few details but marked the first public release of information on the efficacy of the jab.
Bahrain said more than 7,700 people had signed up to take part in a trial of the Sinopharm.
The kingdom earlier said it plans to give the public the vaccine free of charge, but has yet to answer any questions about its programme.
The Sinopharm vaccine has been approved for emergency use in a few countries and the company is still carrying out late-stage clinical trials in 10 countries.
Morocco is gearing up for an ambitious Covid-19 vaccination programme, aiming to vaccinate 80% of its adults in an operation starting this month that is relying initially on the Sinopharm vaccine.
Sinopharm’s jab relies on a tested technology, using a killed virus to deliver the vaccine, similar to how polio immunisations are made.
Leading Western competitors, like the vaccine made by Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech, use newer, less-proven technology to target the coronavirus’s spike protein using RNA.
The UK has already begun vaccinating people with the Pfizer jab and the US is poised to follow.
Pfizer has reported its vaccine as being 95% effective, while another RNA candidate from Moderna appears to be 94.5% effective.
Results suggest a third vaccine from Oxford University and AstraZeneca is safe and about 70% effective, but questions remain about how well it may help protect those over 55.
Also on Sunday, Kuwait’s state-run Kuna news agency announced that the oil-rich country’s health ministry has given the go-ahead for emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine.
The ministry had already offered citizens the option to pre-register on its website to receive the vaccine.