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China gears up for mass COVID-19 vaccine production

One million people have already receive an unauthorised vaccine

SAMAA | - Posted: Dec 18, 2020 | Last Updated: 12 months ago
Posted: Dec 18, 2020 | Last Updated: 12 months ago

Photo: AFP

China is all set to roll out the COVID-19 vaccine to its population soon. Mass vaccination will most likely start next year from the southwestern Sichuan province, even though a vaccine has yet to be authorised.

Around 118,000 vaccine doses have arrived in the province so far. High-risk groups will receive the vaccine by February 5 before it becomes available to the public.

Some might get the vaccine even earlier. A total of 50 million will receive their first dose before January 15, according to Bloomberg which cites anonymous insider sources.

On Wednesday, Zheng Zhongwei, the director of the Development Center for Medical Science and Technology of the National Health Commission, told state media Xinhua News Agency that the country is preparing for mass production of the vaccine.

“Vaccine research and development has entered the final stretch. Although China is among the top tier in the world in vaccine development, it will not jump the gun just to become the first,” Zheng said. 

Fifteen vaccine candidates developed in China have entered clinical trials with five of them in the last phase. Peer-reviewed studies of the final trial phases are yet to be published.

At least one million people have already received a jab in China after vaccine candidates were approved for “emergency use”, but so far they have been limited to priority groups such as state employees and international students, according to AFP.

Some countries, including Indonesia, Brazil and Chile have placed orders for Chinese firm Sinovac’s vaccine. Other vaccines, developed by China National Biotec Group under Sinopharm, have been approved by the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. 

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