COVID-19 vaccines are coming out one after another but most are not spared from controversy. One of them which has gotten its share of criticism is the one developed by Sinopharm.

The Beijing drugmaker got a bit of negative publicity recently when a Chinese vaccine expert said that it was unsafe and that it had 73 side-effects.

Dr. Tao Lina caused quite a stir when he initially revealed the shortcoming of the vaccine on social media, something that was seen by his 4.8 followers. Probably realizing that it put him in the hot seat, the social media post has since been deleted.

But even after putting down his tweet, his post was widely reported in China. Now he is denying having criticized the vaccine and pinned the blame on the media for twisting and exploiting his words. He added that his social media post was written in an extremely sarcastic tone.

Regardless, his post has already caused damage. He now claims that the COVID-19 vaccine is very safe and apologized to his countrymen for his wrong choice of words.

“Hereby, I extend my apologies to numerous web users and citizens across the nation, and express my despisal against the evil actions of overseas media,” his post read.

The Sinopharm vaccine was given conditional approval by Beijing health authorities on New Year’s Eve and reportedly has an efficacy rate of 79.34 percent. China is hoping to treat millions of people that would be comprised of frontline workers and working professionals. They hope to cover ground before the Lunar New Year in anticipation of a travel rush in mid-February.

Before it was deleted, Tao detailed the side effects that the Sinopharm vaccine caused. This includes pain around the injection area, headache, high blood pressure, loss of vision and taste as well as urinary discomfort. Among those who saw Tao’s post include China.com that is handled by the Chinese Communist Party.

This picture taken on November 23, 2020 shows a bottle reading "Vaccine Covid-19" next to Chinese National Pharmaceutical Sinopharm logo. This picture taken on November 23, 2020 shows a bottle reading "Vaccine Covid-19" next to Chinese National Pharmaceutical Sinopharm logo. Getty Images | JOEL SAGET/AFP