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China Daily Global / 2020-08 / 24 / Page001

China OKs emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine

By Zou Shuo | China Daily Global | Updated: 2020-08-24 00:00

China has authorized the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines developed by domestic companies, a senior health official said on Saturday.

Zheng Zhongwei, head of China's COVID-19 vaccine development task force and an official at the National Health Commission, said the emergency use, which is in accordance with the Chinese vaccine management law, allows vaccine candidates to be used for a limited period of time among certain people with high risk of contracting the disease, such as medical workers, front-line pandemic control workers and Customs workers.

Application for the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccine started on April 4, and after various discussions and evaluations, the central government approved the plan for its use on June 24 and authorized emergency use on July 22, he said in an interview with China Central Television.

The use came after a series of plans, such as medical consent forms, side-effects monitoring plans, rescue plans and compensation plans were laid out to make sure the emergency use is well regulated and monitored, he said.

To prevent a possible resurgence of the pandemic in the autumn and winter, the scope of people allowed to be inoculated will be further increased to ensure that cities can keep normal functions when a health crisis strikes, he said.

The price for the vaccine will be based on its costs, instead of market demand, Zheng said. "It's not to say that the companies cannot make profit from the vaccine, but the fundamental rule is that the profit should be moderate and reasonable and based on the costs of making the vaccine."

The production capacity for the vaccine by domestic companies can meet the demand for the emergency use and the ongoing clinical trials, he added.

Yang Xiaoming, CEO of China National Biotec Group, a subsidiary of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), said the company has signed agreements with several countries on phase three clinical trial of inactivated vaccine developed by the company in recent months.

"More than 20,000 people have been vaccinated," Yang said. "Vaccine safety is well guaranteed and the effectiveness is being closely monitored."

The launch ceremony of phase three clinical trials in Argentina of the inactivated COVID-19 vaccine developed by the company was held in Beijing on Friday after the CNBG obtained the certificate of approval for the process.

The inactivated vaccine also received approval for phase three clinical trials in the United Arab Emirates on June 23, and in Peru and Morocco on Thursday.

On June 16, CNBG announced that phase one and phase two clinical trials of its inactivated vaccine had demonstrated good performance in safety and effectiveness on vaccinated volunteers. No subjects showed serious adverse reactions, the company said.

According to the WHO, by Aug 6, six vaccine candidates had begun phase three clinical trials, with three developed by China.


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