China says 610 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to be ready by year-end

Beijing, Sep 25 (efe-epa).- China expects to manufacture 610 million doses of anti-coronavirus vaccine before the end of this year and another one billion doses in 2021, health officials said on Friday.

Zheng Zhongwei, director of the National Health Commission’s Development Center for Medical Science and Technology, told reporters that 11 vaccines of five platforms with Chinese participation were currently in phase 3 of clinical trials without having shown any adverse effects.

He said the authorities would administer vaccines at a large-scale “as soon as possible.”

The official said emergency vaccination, which China began to carry out in July, had been administered to high-risk groups and had produced “very solid” results.

“We had a very strict mechanism to monitor any bad reaction, so that the inoculated people are protected. Not a single case (of adverse reaction) occurred,” he said.

Meanwhile, the director of the Chinese science and technology ministry’s Center for Biotechnology, Zhang Xinmin, said it was “normal and acceptable” for vaccines to show adverse effects in trials to some extent.

He said unlike in dengue, scientists had observed no side-effect of the Covid-19 vaccines so far, but more time was needed before the final phase 3 trial was concluded.

Addressing concerns over the possible mutation of the virus, Zhang said no significant changes were detected in its strains in different countries after comparing their genetic sequences.

The scientist said all the strains showed a high level of similarity, leading to the belief that the vaccines could be effective on all of them.

The chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Zeng Guang, who was present at the press conference, insisted that phase 3 results were looking “very promising,” and as per preliminary findings the vaccines were “effective and safe.”

However, he warned that as the vaccines were set to be used on millions of people, the possibilities of an adverse effect being found would shoot up, and therefore it would be necessary to have a centralized mechanism to monitor and follow-up their use.

The epidemiologist also said as the pharmaceutical companies involved were aware, it was better to test the vaccines abroad, as the virus had been practically controlled in China and local trials would not be as effective.

Regarding the distribution of vaccines among the population, once they were ready, Zheng said people would be divided into three categories: high-risk groups, vulnerable groups, and the general population.

The experts did not offer an exact date for the commencement of a large-scale vaccination of the people.

Wu Yuanbin, a senior official of the science and technology ministry, insisted that China was a world leader in vaccine production and emphasized that although it was important for the antidotes to be introduced in the market, they had to be sure first that the trials had been concluded successfully. EFE-EPA


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