Beijing, Oct 21 (efe-epa).- Health authorities in the city of Shaoxing have begun accepting requests from residents to be vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
This had previously been something that was limited to special cases and high-risk workers and has now been opened up to the general public in the city in China’s eastern province of Zhejiang.
The municipal health commission said on Chinese social media messaging site WeChat that high-risk groups still have priority but that it will also offer the vaccine to anyone who wants to be inoculated voluntarily, depending on availability.
Officials did not specify which vaccine would be administered, none have yet been licensed for commercialization, or when it will begin to do so.
The announcement implies that more people will be able to take advantage of the so-called “emergency” uses of potential inoculations.
China previously said vaccines would be available for specific cases, such as protecting health workers, employees of Covid prevention programs, port inspectors and public service officials.
This group would also include residents who need inoculation for other reasons such as unavoidable trips abroad, according to local press reports.
In Jiaxing, also in the Zhejiang province, citizens who need emergency vaccinations can already make appointments at the city’s community clinics, the local health authority announced last week.
In both cities, the vaccine will be provided to people between 18 and 59 years of age at a total cost of 400 yuan ($59.50) for two doses, which have to be administered within 14 to 28 days of each other.
China authorized the use of candidate Covid-19 vaccines on 22 July in certain cases.
Zheng Zhongwei, a top official at China’s National Health Commission, reported on Tuesday that around 60,000 volunteers were given four experimental drugs and there has been “no adverse reaction”.
There are 13 vaccine candidates in clinical trials in the country, including four in phase three of testing.
Zheng said China plans to manufacture 610 million doses of coronavirus vaccine before the end of this year and one billion in 2021 and that they will be affordable to the public.
He has not given a date for when the Chinese vaccines to be rolled out on a large scale. EFE/EPA