An experimental $ 60 double-dose coronavirus vaccine is being made available to some residents of an eastern Chinese city, health officials said, with early details of a mass deployment of ‘a vaccine not yet proven.
Jiaxing City officials said on Thursday that residents aged 18 to 59 with “urgent needs” can request consultations at clinics for a Sinovac Biotech vaccine that authorities have given to groups such as medical workers. .
The statement from the Jiaxing Disease Control and Prevention Center does not specify what constitutes “urgent needs.”
Authorities did not say how many people in the city received the vaccine, which comes in two doses, given 28 days apart and costing a total of 400 yuan ($ 59).
China has already given hundreds of thousands of essential workers in ports, hospitals and other high-risk areas across the country an experimental vaccine, officials said.
But even as 11 Chinese vaccines have entered clinical trials, including four in advanced Phase III trials, none have been approved for mass market distribution.
China is desperate to win the global race for a vaccine against a virus that has emerged in the central city of Wuhan, as it seeks to complete its recovery narrative from the public health and economic calamity.
China has approved some candidates for emergency use, with officials saying they haven’t seen any serious adverse reactions.
Beijing has also made bold predictions on a larger deployment before the end of the year as it battles a storm of international criticism over its early handling of the outbreak.
Health officials said at a press conference last month that the country expects to be able to produce 610 million doses of vaccine per year by the end of the year, stressing that it would be affordable.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has also previously said that Chinese vaccines will become a “global public good”.
China has signed an offer led by the World Health Organization to ensure that future COVID-19 vaccines are distributed to developing countries, the largest economy that has yet to join the attempt to control the pandemic.
Beijing did not give details on how much it would commit to the deal, which has a fundraising target of $ 2 billion and aims to provide a future vaccine to 92 low- and middle-income countries .
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