China experiments with coronavirus vaccines on high-risk groups

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A health official has said that China has been experimenting with coronavirus vaccines on groups facing high infection risk since July, 2020.

Zheng Zhongwei, National Health Commission official, said in an interview aired on Saturday August 22, 2020, that with the vaccine experiment, China targets to boost the immunity of specific groups of people, including medical workers and those who work at food markets and in the transportation and service sectors.

“Chinese authorities could consider modestly expanding the emergency use programme to check the possibility of preventing outbreaks during the autumn and winter,” he said.

The guidelines for emergency use of potential coronavirus vaccines, approved on 24 June, have not been made public, according to Zhongwei, who also heads the Chinese government-led team overseeing the state resources for coronavirus vaccine development.

A news report said in June that China had been offering candidate coronavirus vaccines at the state-owned firms to employees who are travelling abroad.

Among some countries that doubt China’s use of experimental vaccines is Papua New Guinea that has denied entry to Chinese nationals who participated in a coronavirus vaccine trial, according to the Australian newspaper.

“China’s coronavirus vaccines will be priced to cost,” Zhongwei said.

He added that it is the companies that will decide based on cost, as they can make moderate or reasonable profits based on their decision.

A vaccine that is being developed by a unit of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) could cost no more than 1,000 yuan ($144) for two shots, according to Sinopharm chairman, Liu Jingzhen.

Zheng, however, said the price will definitely be lower than the price Liu said.

Many countries are still in the race of providing an effective vaccine that can guarantee protection and safety from contracting the coronavirus, which has killed nearly 800,000 people worldwide.

As it stands, no vaccine has yet passed final, large-scale trials to prove its readiness for use.

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