CHINA / SOCIETY
Sinopharm plans safe vaccine distribution, license for commercial use 'very likely' this month
Commercial use very likely this month: expert
Published: Dec 10, 2020 09:28 PM Updated: Dec 10, 2020 10:41 PM

vaccine Photo:VCG



China's leading vaccine maker Sinopharm announced on Thursday that it has carried out a nationwide logistics exercise to ensure safe and efficient vaccine distributions, with vaccine experts predicting that the COVID-19 vaccine is "very likely" to be licensed and available in the market by the end of December.

Sinopharm made the announcement on its WeChat account, saying that the exercise covered 31 provinces, autonomous regions and municipalities on the Chinese mainland, involving more than 40 information, storage and transportation companies. 

Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based vaccine expert, told the Global Times on Thursday that the China-developed COVID-19 vaccine is very likely to be available for domestic use by the end of December. The Chinese vaccine was registered on Wednesday in the United Arab Emirates with 86-percent efficacy.

Zhuhai, South China's Guangdong Province is the latest city to start emergency use of a coronavirus vaccine to better tackle imported infections. Previously, Southwest China's Sichuan and East China's Zhejiang provinces launched emergency use in some cities, while Jiangsu started purchases of the vaccine. 

Zhuhai, which is near the Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, carried out the first round of COVID-19 vaccine injections for emergency use, a staff member of the Zhuhai Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) vaccination consultation hotline confirmed to the Global Times on Thursday.

A staff member of the Guangdong Provincial CDC told the Global Times on Thursday that the office has no immediate plans to promote the injections across the entire province.

Zhuhai has identified high-risk groups as people working in quarantine sites; people working at ports and airports, border inspections, customs, airport pickup and transfer drivers; workers in the imported cold-chain food sector; people who make trips abroad but are exempt from quarantine; and personnel at international docks.

In Hefei, capital of East China's Anhui Province, the Global Times learned that some front-line workers in the province have already received emergency vaccinations developed by Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech and they have not reported any adverse reactions so far. 

But an employee at the Hefei CDC said that a large-scale survey of residents' plans to take emergency vaccinations hasn't been launched yet.

Besides, Zhejiang's Yiwu, Jiaxing and Shaoxing have carried out injections developed by Beijing-based vaccine producer Sinovac Biotech for emergency inoculation.

Sichuan has begun emergency vaccinations for about 2 million people in 12 high-risk groups, with inoculation scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The general public will have access to the vaccine after the Chinese Spring Festival that falls on February 12, 2021.

With the expectation of commercial use by the end of December, China can guarantee smooth production of COVID-19 vaccines with sufficient raw materials, production lines and mature production technology. China's production capacity will reach 610 million doses by year-end and continue to expand, officials said, with experts noting that transferring production lines for rabies and flu to COVID-19 vaccine would be feasible to expand the capacity. 


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