Beijing | A Chinese city offers its residents “emergency vaccinations” against COVID-19, said city authorities, the first known operation of this magnitude in the country, carried out with a vaccine still not approved commercially.
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18-59-year-olds can visit for a possible administration of the vaccine from the private company Sinovac, the Center for Infectious Disease Control in Jiaxing (east China) said Thursday.
These “emergency vaccinations” are recommended in priority to the most exposed inhabitants, such as medical personnel, people in contact with the public, customs officials or even travelers having to go to countries at risk.
The vaccine includes two doses to be administered 14 to 28 days apart, at a total cost of 400 yuan (51 euros). Authorities do not say whether vaccinations have already taken place in Jiaxing – a coastal city in Zhejiang province with a population of 4.7 million.
A dozen vaccines developed in China have already started testing on humans, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Four have already reached the ultimate “phase 3” of these clinical trials, including that of Sinovac.
None, however, has yet received approval for large-scale commercial distribution. But Chinese authorities have given the green light for emergency use for some of these vaccines.
Hundreds of thousands of people with jobs deemed essential in ports, hospitals and other at-risk areas have already been given an experimental vaccine, authorities said.
China, like other countries, is in a race against time to be the first to market a vaccine on a large scale.
The Asian giant plans to be able by the end of 2020 to produce 610 million doses per year of several vaccines, health officials announced in September.
President Xi Jinping pledged that any vaccine produced in his country would be “a global public good.”
China also announced in early October that it had joined the international mechanism for the provision of anti-Covid 19 vaccines to developing countries, an initiative launched by the WHO.