A worker inspects batches of products at Sinovac's vaccine factory, September 2020.  Photo: Reuters.

China allows a second mass injection of Covid-19 vaccine


The Chinese Pharmaceutical Regulatory Authority approved the widespread use of Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccine, following Sinopharm’s first.

Sinovac’s product becomes the second Covid-19 vaccine to be licensed for mass use in China. Prior to that, the Chinese pharmaceutical regulator licensed the Covid-19 vaccine of China National Pharmaceutical Corporation (Sinopharm) in December 2020.

Before being approved for mass use, Sinopharm and Sinovac’s Covid-19 vaccines were both approved by China for the emergency vaccination program, mainly for groups at higher risk of nCoV exposure.

Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay and Laos have licensed the emergency use of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine, the company said in a statement. Approval is based on two-month results of clinical trials from the end of 2020, but data analysis is not yet complete.

A worker inspects batches of products at Sinovac’s vaccine factory, September 2020. Image: Reuters.

Covid-19 broke out in December 2019, appeared in 219 countries and territories with nearly 106 million cases, more than 2.3 million deaths, and nearly 78 million people recovered. The pandemic has made countries invest unprecedented resources to develop coping vaccines, with 64 different Covid-19 vaccines being deployed and tested on a large scale.

China has developed two vaccines using inactivated virus, including BBIBP-CorV from Sinopharm and CoronaVac from Sinovac. This vaccine can be easily moved in freeze-dried form, easily accessible to people in developing countries. However, they do stimulate a weaker immune response than vaccines containing live viruses.

Before being licensed for mass use, CoronaVac is approved for limited deployment in China. However, the vaccine has caused a lot of suspicion when clinical trials in Brazil showed efficacy of just over 50%, the minimum level for regulatory agencies to permit vaccination.

Nguyen Tien (According to the Reuters)

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