Chinese citizens can receive COVID-19 vaccines as early as November

Chinese citizens can receive COVID-19 vaccines as early as November, senior health official reveals

  • Wu Guifen, chief biosafety expert of China’s CDC, announced the news Monday
  • She said the clinical trials for the unnamed vaccines were ‘proceeding smoothly’ 
  • China launched an emergency COVID-19 vaccine scheme for key workers in July
  • It has four of the world’s eight vaccines that are being tested in the final stage

Coronavirus vaccines being developed in China could be ready for use by the general public as early as November, an official with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced.

Phase 3 clinical trials for the country’s vaccine candidates were proceeding smoothly and Chinese citizens could receive the shots in November or December, Wu Guizhen, CDC chief biosafety expert said in an interview with state TV late on Monday. 

China has four COVID-19 vaccines in the final stage of clinical trials. At least three of those have already been offered to essential workers under an emergency use programme launched in July.

Coronavirus vaccines being developed in China could be ready for use by the general public as early as November, a senior official has said. This file photo shows a staff member holding up a sample of a potential COVID-19 vaccine at a production plant of SinoPharm in Beijing

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese have received these experimental COVID-19 vaccines without one single infection, a state-owned drug firm claimed last week. In this file photo, a staff member tests samples of a potential COVID-19 vaccine at a production plant in Beijing

Hundreds of thousands of Chinese have received these experimental COVID-19 vaccines without one single infection, a state-owned drug firm claimed last week.

Chinese officials said last month they are also considering to ‘scale up’ the scheme on people working in food markets, public transport and hospitality to prevent a possible virus outbreak in the autumn and winter. 

Speaking to state broadcaster CCTV, Wu said ordinary Chinese citizens can expect to receive the shots ‘fairly soon’.

‘It would be about November or December,’ she told the presenter. ‘Ordinary people can be vaccinated with the vaccine, because according to its phase III clinical results, the current progress is proceeding very smoothly.’

Wu, who said she has experienced no abnormal symptoms in recent months after taking an experimental vaccine herself in April, did not specify which vaccines she was referring to.

A unit of state pharmaceutical giant China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and US-listed Sinovac Biotech are developing the three vaccines under the state’s emergency use programme. 

A fourth COVID-19 vaccine being developed by CanSino Biologics was approved for use by the Chinese military in June.

Sinopharm said in July that its vaccine could be ready for public use by the end of this year after the conclusion of Phase 3 trials.

Global vaccine makers are racing to develop an effective vaccine against the virus which has killed more than 925,000 people.

Chinese President Xi Jinping learns about the progress on the research into COVID-19 vaccine candidates during a visit to the Academy of Military Medical Sciences in Beijing on March 2

Chinese officials said last month they are also considering to ‘scale up’ the scheme on people working in food markets, public transport and hospitality to prevent a possible virus outbreak in the autumn and winter. The file picture shows a volunteer receiving a potential COVID-19 vaccine produced by the Chinese company Sinovac Biotech in Sao Paulo, Brazil on July 21

Leading Western vaccine makers pledged earlier this month to uphold scientific study standards and reject any political pressure to rush the process. 

China has four of the world’s eight vaccines that are in the third phase of trials, typically the last step ahead of regulatory approval, as countries race to stub out the virus and reboot battered economies.

As of last month, at least 5.7 billion doses of the vaccines under development around the world had been pre-ordered.

But the World Health Organization has warned that widespread immunisation against COVID-19 may not be on the cards until the middle of next year.

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