Reservations being taken for COVID-19 vaccine in Beijing, Wuhan: media reports

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/10/12 23:51:41

A staff member tests samples of the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine at a vaccine production plant of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) in Beijing, capital of China, April 11, 2020. Photo:Xinhua

State-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) has launched an online reservation for people seeking COVID-19 vaccines in Beijing and Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, media reported on Monday. 

Students who will travel abroad are among the priority groups being offered the Sinopharm coronavirus shot, according to the reports.

"We attach great importance to the students who study aboard, and hope to provide effective, safe and comprehensive insurance in line with the law," a source close to Sinopharm who asked not to be identified told the Global Times on Monday.

Students who study abroad, overseas staff and frontline workers are entitled to "urgent use" of the vaccines. 

The Global Times reporter found on the reservation platform that students who are planning to travel abroad from November to January 2021 will be eligible to receive the shot. 

Sinopharm said that they intend to provide Chinese students studying abroad the vaccines for free.

More than 152,000 people have made reservations for the vaccines while another 747,572 expressed willingness to take the vaccine as of Tuesday morning.

Meanwhile, the platform became inaccessible on Tuesday afternoon and Sinopharm has not responded to a request for confirmation as of press time on Monday. 

A student who is set to study abroad for her master's degree said on Tuesday that she received a text after filling out the form online and was invited to a chat group with about 200 students who have registered for the vaccines. 

"After joining the group, students are required to register a (concrete) time and place to take the shot. The earliest time available is around middle of October," the student who preferred not to be named told the Global Times.

Although she is still considering the option out of safety concerns, she confirmed to the Global Times that many students in the group had already registered for it.

Another student who is in another WeChat group for applicants in Wuhan told the Global Times on Tuesday that they were told the program in Wuhan had been suspended.

"I was informed by the visa agency in mid-September that we can make an appointment for Sinopharm vaccine shots in Beijing," an employee at an internet company in Beijing told the Global Times on condition of anonymity. 

"There are two shots, costing 2,600 yuan," he said, noting that shortly before the National Day holidays he was offered the Sinopharm vaccines.

His job requires him to travel overseas countries, including India, which currently has the world's second-highest recorded COVID-19 infections.

"In our trade, you never know when the company needs you out there. You can also go overseas without the vaccine, but that's another story. And taking COVID-19 vaccines needs some time, so I am following the development closely," the person said.

Though the source close to Sinopharm claimed that there is still no exact timetable for groups taking emergency vaccination, the company has taken "reservations for vaccines" at the China International Fair for Trade in Services held in September,

The Chinese vaccine developer has two vaccine products that have already entered Phase III trial tests covering sample groups in 125 countries, according to Sinopharm. In line with the laws and regulations, the company received the approval for emergency use of the vaccine on July 22.

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