Shanghai, China, Dec 9 (efe-epa).- The central Chinese province of Sichuan, which has registered the latest small Covid-19 outbreak in the country, has started an “emergency” vaccination program that will cover up to 2 million people at high risk of infection, official media reported Wednesday.
The province’s health authorities hope to complete the vaccination by the end of the year, according to the state-run newspaper Global Times, which cited the regional newspaper Sichuan Daily.
The news comes shortly after Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan, activated “wartime mode” and ordered mass coronavirus testing in a district after detecting seven local cases – one of them asymptomatic – the origin of which is still unknown.
These are the first cases to be detected in the city in nine months.
Health workers, teachers, port workers, students and workers going overseas will be among the first to receive the vaccine, said Luan Rongsheng, deputy head of the local health ministry’s epidemic control team.
From early 2021, other vulnerable groups, including the elderly or those with chronic diseases whose condition could easily worsen on contracting Covid-19, will begin to be vaccinated.
According to Luan, vaccination of the general population will begin in February, after the Chinese New Year, although it will depend on their availability.
The official said that it will be difficult for the virus to re-emerge once more than 80 percent of the public is vaccinated.
Sichuan Daily reported that inactivated Covid-19 vaccines will be used in the campaign although the authorities have not officially confirmed it.
A total of two doses – costing 200 yuan ($30.63) each – will be administered in intervals of between 14 and 28 days.
If this is done, the conditions would be identical to those established in some cities of the eastern province of Zhejiang, where the vaccine began to be administered to people in high-risk groups in October.
China has not yet granted a license to any of the Covid-19 vaccines under development for commercial use, although at the end of July it did approve their use in certain cases considered urgent.
An official of the country’s State Council (government) said last week that Beijing will approve the commercialization of 600 million doses of its coronavirus vaccines – four of them already in the last phase of testing – before the end of the year. EFE-EPA