Coronavirus vaccine: China administers Covid vaccine to thousands; Chinese strategy very problematic, says expert

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September 17, 2020 2:54 PM

While the Chinese authorities have not released the number of people who have been vaccinated so far, the China National Biotec Group (CNBG), the Sinopharm unit which is manufacturing two of the experimental Covid-19 vaccines confirmed to Reuters that tens of thousands have already been vaccinated.

She also added that people are being vaccinated by the authorities even without being sure of the protection offered by the vaccine.She also added that people are being vaccinated by the authorities even without being sure of the protection offered by the vaccine.

Even as the trials of Coronavirus vaccines undergo in different countries, reports of China administering the experimental vaccines to hundreds and thousands of its citizens have evinced the interest of health experts from all around the world. According to a Reuters report, the country is conducting human trials on a massive scale and consequently sparking fears over the safety of vaccines in the absence of their proper and standard testing.

While the Chinese authorities have not released the number of people who have been vaccinated so far, the China National Biotec Group (CNBG), the Sinopharm unit which is manufacturing two of the experimental Covid-19 vaccines confirmed to Reuters that tens of thousands have already been vaccinated. Among the people who have already been vaccinated include the chief executives of Sinopharm and Sinovac which are developing the vaccine. Military Research chief, chief biosafety expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other prominent personalities from the science and medical industry have also been vaccinated by the authorities to shore up the public opinion in favour of the vaccines.

The emergency use approach of the Chinese government runs counter to the strategy of most Western countries where clinical trials of the vaccines have been given prime importance keeping in sight the long term impact of the vaccine. Anna Durbin, a vaccine researcher at Johns Hopkins University told Reuters that the Chinese emergency vaccine use strategy was very problematic. She also added that people are being vaccinated by the authorities even without being sure of the protection offered by the vaccine.

The report comes months after the authorities launched an emergency vaccine programme in July for three experimental vaccines which have been developed by a unit of the government-run China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) and U.S.-listed Sinovac Biotech SVA.O. In June, China had become the first country in the world to vaccinate its military personnel by a vaccine developed by the CanSino Biologics. The country is aiming at stemming the successive waves of the spread of the virus in the country by vaccinating the frontline health workers, military personnel and other citizens.

The progress made by the Chinese experimental vaccines is also under the scrutiny of various governments of the world as the countries are pulling out all stops to procure the fastest supplies of the vaccine for their populations. The United Arab of Emirates became the first country this week to launch the emergency use of a China manufactured vaccine. The government of the UAE went in favour of the emergency use merely six weeks after the human trials had begun in the country.

A top level source at CanSino, the pharma giant involved in the production of Covid-19 vaccine in China, told Reuters that several countries are in talks with the company and negotiating the supply of the vaccine. However, the source refused to divulge the names of various countries engaged in talks with the company.

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