The Chinese government has been administering a coronavirus vaccine candidate to selected groups of key workers since July, a senior health official said.
Zheng Zhongei, the head of the science and technology center of the National Health Commission, told public news organization CCTV on Sunday that the government had authorized “emergency use” of a Sars-Cov vaccine. 2 for workers, including health workers and border officials.
The country has gone seven days without reporting a locally transmitted case, and border workers are considered to be in a high-risk category, said Zheng, who heads the Immunization Development Task Force.
It appears to be the first confirmation of China’s use of the vaccine outside of clinical trials.
There were no details on the particular vaccine candidate used or how many people had received it, but Zheng said it was administered according to law, under powers that allow limited use. unapproved vaccines during serious public health events.
“We have developed a series of plans, including medical consent forms, side effect monitoring plans, rescue plans, compensation plans, to ensure emergency use is well regulated and monitored. Zheng said, adding that they plan to “expand” testing to other groups before the fall and winter.
The World Health Organization is tracking more than 170 vaccine candidates around the world, and China is producing several in phase three, when the vaccine is given to thousands of people to confirm its safety and effectiveness.
In June, the Chinese government called for volunteers among employees of state-owned companies who frequently travel abroad, to test two vaccines.
The state-owned China National Biotec Group (CNBG) has since been cleared to begin human testing of its vaccine in the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Peru, Morocco and Argentina, and the company said about 20,000 people were participating in the overseas trials. SinoVac and CanSino Biologics are also carrying out trials abroad in Russia, Indonesia and Brazil.
Last week, a plane of Chinese miners was denied entry into Papua New Guinea, amid government concerns over an apparent vaccination trial.
Mine owner Ramu NiCo, headed by Chinese state-owned Matallurgical Corporation of China, reportedly issued an official statement to PNG saying 48 of its employees received a Sars-Cov-2 vaccine in early August. However, they have been denied entry into the country due to a “lack of information on what these trials are and the potential risks of threats” they may present to the people of PNG, said. David Manning.
In his interview, Zheng also addressed the announcement from CNBG’s parent company, Sinopharm, that its two-dose vaccine would cost around $ 145 – far more than any other vaccine price announced so far.
“President Xi has declared Covid-19 vaccines to be public health products. A principle of public health products is that they are not priced based on the relationship between supply and demand, but based on cost plus a reasonable level of profit, ”Zheng said, according to the South report. China Morning Post.
“I can tell you that the price will certainly be lower than what [Sinopharm] Chairman Liu said.
Additional reporting by Lillian Yang