TAIPEI, Taiwan: Chinese provincial governments are ordering experimental vaccinations against coronavirus at home, although health officials have yet to say how they work or how they can reach the country’s 1.4 billion people.
Developers are speeding up the final tests, the Chinese foreign minister said at a UN meeting last week that Britain had approved the Pfizer vaccine candidate and provider for emergency use to establish the distribution.
Even without final approval, one million health workers and others in China who are at high risk of infection have received experimental vaccines with permission to use emergencies. There are no words about possible side effects.
China’s nascent pharmaceutical industry has at least five vaccines among four producers being tested in more than a dozen countries, including Russia, Egypt and Mexico. Health experts say that despite its success, the certification process in the United States, Europe, Japan and other developed countries can be too complex to use. However, China has said it will ensure that the products are affordable for developing countries.
A developer from China National Pharmaceutical Group, known as Sinopharm, said it had applied for a definitive market permit in November to use its vaccine in China. Others have been admitted for emergencies for people at high risk of infection.
“We need to be ready for large-scale production,” said Deputy Prime Minister Sun Chunlan, who oversaw a large part of the country’s response during a visit to developers on Wednesday, according to an official Xinhua News Agency official.
Sun visited one of Sinopharm’s Beijing subsidiaries; another producer, Sinovac, and a research laboratory under the National Administration of Medical Products, a regulatory agency that approves medical products for public use.
The government has not yet said how many people plan to be vaccinated. Sun said the plans call for the inclusion of border workers and other high-risk populations this month.
Companies use more traditional techniques than Western developers.
They say that unlike Pfizer vaccines, it should be kept frozen at a temperature of at least 70 ° Celsius (at least 94 Fahrenheit), its own can be stored between 2 ° C and 8 ° C. Chinese producers have yet to say how they can be distributed.
Health experts question why China now uses experimental vaccines on such a large scale that the outbreak is largely under control within its borders.
Health officials have previously said that China will be able to manufacture 610 million doses by the end of this year and up to 1 billion doses next year.
The government of Jiangsu province, located in the main city of Nanjing, issued a notice announcing the vaccination of Sinovac and Sinopharm companies for emergency vaccination on Wednesday.
Authorities in western Sichuan province, which has about 85 million people, reported Monday that they were already buying vaccines. An official newspaper in southeastern Anhui province in Beijing said a local residential committee had issued a statement asking residents whether they wanted the vaccine.
Ads in Sichuan and Anhui said the vaccine, given in two shots, would cost a total of 400 yuan ($ 60).
Sinovac and Sinopharm vaccines were approved for emergency use in July.
In October, southern Zhejiang province of Shanghai offered a public vaccine with permission to use emergencies. He said high-risk people would be a priority.
In November, the secretary of the Communist Party of Sinopharm said nearly one million people had been vaccinated.
In September, Sinovac’s general manager said about 3,000 workers had been vaccinated. He said the company provided tens of thousands of doses to the Beijing city government.
Developers have not yet reported vaccines with their effectiveness and possible side effects.
Sinopharm conducts clinical trials in 10 countries, including the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Peru and Argentina, with nearly 60,000 volunteers. It has built two facilities in China capable of producing 200 million doses a year.
Sinovace has trials in Brazil, Turkey and Indonesia. According to the latest data published in the science journal The Lancet, its candidate produces lower levels of antibodies in the public than those recovered from COVID-19. The company expects to be able to produce hundreds of millions of doses of the vaccine in February or March next year.
Another producer, CanSino, is testing it in Russia, Pakistan and Mexico and is partnering with Latin American countries. The vaccine used by the Chinese military in emergencies uses a harmless adenovirus to generate an immune response to carry genes into human cells.
A fourth company, Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biologic Pharmacy, is conducting final-stage testing across China.