Companies set to ramp up COVID-19 vaccine production following plan for second booster shots
Published: Dec 15, 2022 01:59 AM
Production line of an aerosolized adenovirus type-5 vector-based COVID-19 vaccine (Ad5-nCoV) developed by CanSino Biologics Photo: Courtesy of CanSino

Production line of an aerosolized adenovirus type-5 vector-based COVID-19 vaccine (Ad5-nCoV) developed by CanSino Biologics Photo: Courtesy of CanSino

COVID-19 vaccine producers have started to prepare for increased vaccine production after China issued a plan to roll out second booster shots on Wednesday, with nine vaccine booster combinations included in the plan.

Those from high-risk groups, the elderly and people with underlying diseases and weak immune systems who received their first booster shot over six months ago will be the first to receive the second booster, according to the plan released by the State Council joint prevention and control mechanism against COVID-19 on Wednesday.

All vaccines that have been approved for conditional marketing or emergency use can be used as a second booster shot. The sequential booster immunization using different technology, or Omicron-resistant vaccines are preferred for use as the second booster shot, according to the plan.

There are two types in the vaccine booster combination including three doses of inactivated vaccine plus one different dose of COVID-19 vaccine and two doses of CanSinoBIO's intramuscular COVID-19 vaccine plus one dose of CanSinoBIO's inhaled vaccine.

The Global Times learnt from CanSino Biologics Inc that the company will arrange further production of COVID-19 vaccines based on market demand. "The company will supply the vaccines at a pace based on the overall demand. The booster shot plan has just been implemented, and the promotion will start with key groups. We need to communicate with local centers for disease control and know their need," the company told the Global Times on Wednesday.

With its intramuscular and inhaled COVID-19 vaccines recommended as a second COVID-19 booster dose, it will have a positive impact on the company's performance if the authorities increase the purchase, according to the announcement released by CanSino Biologics Inc on Wednesday.

So far China has reportedly approved 13 COVID-19 vaccines for conditional marketing or emergency use including three on the World Health Organization's emergency use list, CanSino Biologics Inc said.

Clover Biopharmaceuticals said on Wednesday via its official WeChat account that the vaccine produced by its subsidiary Zhejiang Clover Biological Pharmaceutical Co has been included into the plan for a second COVID-19 booster dose. The company said that a significant and durable protective effect was demonstrated in the elderly and people with underlying diseases.

Clover Biopharmaceuticals did not disclose the specific production capability. But based on the data it has disclosed in 2021, the company is capable of producing more than 1 billion doses per year at the potential maximum capacity, according to The Paper on Wednesday.

Four of the nine vaccine booster combinations introduced in the plan were approved for emergency use in early December, according to the report.

The vaccine producers will also face competition in the future as there used to be a shortage of supply, but now the vaccine industry has more capacity than it needs, The Paper reported, citing an insider. The companies need to develop new vaccines as the virus is mutating, according to the report.