China to expand COVID-19 inoculations; meat sellers also high priority
China will soon expand coronavirus inoculations for workers in health care, transport, and border control, a senior official said on Saturday. Workers in logistics and in markets selling fresh meat and seafood would also be placed higher on the list of those receiving vaccines, along with the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions.
China says it has largely contained the spread of the virus domestically, announcing just three new cases of local infections on Saturday, two of them in the capital Beijing and one in the northeastern province of Liaoning. Vice Minister of the National Health Commission Zeng Yixin gave few specifics but said the government was prioritizing those most at risk of catching the virus.
Chinese companies have previously released phase 1 and phase 2 clinical trial data for their vaccines through peer-reviewed academic journals. But they are yet to provide information about the results of their phase 3 trials. Health officials previously said China will be able to manufacture 610 million doses by the end of this year and ramp up to one billion doses next year.
Even before final market approval, more than a million people have received vaccine shots in a program critics say has not been transparent about safety, efficacy, or scientific merit. China officially gave emergency use approval to Sinovac and Sinopharm's vaccine candidates in July. A third company, CanSino, had also given its vaccine to Chinese military personnel.