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The keyworkers involved include frontline medical staff and border control inspectors. Zheng Zhongwei, a senior official from the national health commission, revealed at the weekend the vaccine had been secretly approved on July 22. Mr Zheng explained the swift distribution of the new vaccine in an official statement that said: “There are clear provisions in Article 20 of our country’s vaccine law.
“When a major public health incident occurs, the National Health Commission submits an application for emergency use of vaccines, and the State Food and Drug Administration organises experts to evaluate and agree to the National Health Commission for emergency use of vaccines within a certain scale and within a certain limited time”.
The leader of the vaccine research and development team in China said the next phase of inoculation with the vaccine would begin in the autumn and winter.
He explained this would be in order to create “an immunity barrier”.
He added: “Once we build up an immune barrier for medical staff, personnel involved in basic operation of the city, such as those in the farmers market, transportation, and in some service industries could be eligible for the vaccine.
“Then the entire city’s operation has a stable guarantee”.
So far, the experimental vaccine has only been used on people who work in “high risk” professions.
Authorities have now given permission to give the vaccine to epidemic prevention personnel and staff at fever clinics.
Sinopharm’s China National Biotec Group Company, CNBG, has been developing the new vaccine.
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The vaccine has gone through phase 3 clinical trials that were conducted in the UAE, Peru, Morocco, and Argentina.
In June, Beijing approved the use of a different vaccine for the People’s Liberation Army.
The vaccine was rushed through “military specially-needed drug approval”.
China can create vaccines on a huge scale.
The country has 40 manufacturers that can create as many as one billion doses of a specific vaccine in a much shorter amount of time than other nations.
The effects of these trial vaccines have not been reported.
It is unclear if the vaccine went through the most stringent clinical trials.
China maintains it has relatively few domestic cases of coronavirus, stating that most of the recent cases have been imported from overseas.
Mr Zheng said: “Most cases in China now are imported, so border officials are a high-risk group.”
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