© Reuters. The medic collects a swab from a man at a makeshift nucleic acid test site in Tianjin
BEIJING (Reuters) – China will initially focus on vaccinating high-risk groups in winter and spring before expanding vaccination to the general public, a senior health official said on Saturday.
Zeng Yixin, vice minister of China’s National Health Commission (NHC) and director of the State Council’s Vaccine Research and Development Working Group, warned that as temperatures drop, China’s COVID-19 prevention efforts are coming under increasing pressure.
“During the winter and spring seasons, conducting novel coronavirus vaccination work on some key populations is of great importance for epidemic prevention,” he said in a briefing.
China is actively seeking to strengthen group immunity, and vaccinating at risk groups, which include cold chain workers, customs, healthcare, markets and public transportation, is only the first part of a “step-by-step program” “. , he added.
China has included two vaccine candidates from Sinopharm and one from Sinovac Biotech Ltd in an emergency program launched in July that targets specific high-risk groups at high risk of infection such as medical workers and border inspectors.
It has also approved a vaccine from CanSino Biologics Inc for military use, but not a vaccine for the general public.
Zheng Zhongwei, the NHC official in charge of China’s COVID-19 vaccine development team, said China has given more than 1 million emergency doses to members of risk groups since July and “no serious side effects have been detected so far.”
“The vaccines, which we are moving fairly quickly, have already identified the number of cases required for intermediate phase III clinical trials,” Zheng said, although he did not specify which products were.
Data has been submitted to the medical device regulator, which will approve the vaccines if they meet the required conditions, he added.
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