China prepares large-scale rollout of Covid-19 vaccines

Vastavam web: Provincial governments across China are placing orders for experimental, domestically made coronavirus vaccines, though health officials have yet to say how well they work or how they may reach the country’s 1.4 billion people. Developers are speeding up final testing, the Chinese foreign minister said during a UN meeting last week, as Britain approved emergency use of Pfizer Inc.’s vaccine candidate and providers scrambled to set up distribution.

Even without final approval, more than 1 million health care workers and others in China who are deemed at high risk of infection have received experimental vaccines under emergency use permission. Developers have yet to disclose how effective their vaccines are and possible side effects. On Sunday, 1.2 million doses of the Chinese company Sinovac’s vaccine arrived in Indonesia, the government said.

“We are very grateful, thank God, the vaccine is now available so that we can immediately curb the spread of the COVID-19 disease, President Joko Widodo said. Within China, so far only one developer, China National Pharmaceutical Group, known as Sinopharm, said in November it applied for final market approval for use of its vaccine. Others have been approved for emergency use on people deemed at high risk of infection.

We must be prepared for large-scale production, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said during a visit Wednesday to developers, according to the official Xinhua News Agency. The government has yet to say how many people it plans to vaccinate. Sun said plans call for vaccinating border personnel and other high-risk populations this month. The companies are using more traditional techniques than Western developers.

They say unlike Pfizer’s vaccine, which must be kept frozen at temperatures as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 Fahrenheit), theirs can be stored at 2 to 8 C (36 to 46 F). The Chinese producers have yet to say how they might be distributed. Health experts question why China is using experimental vaccines on such a vast scale now that the outbreak is largely under control within its borders. Health officials previously said China will be able to manufacture 610 million doses by the end of this year and ramp up to 1 billion doses next year. The government of Jiangsu province, where the major city of Nanjing is located, issued a procurement notice for vaccines from Sinovac and Sinopharm on Wednesday for emergency use.

Source: PTI