Chinese official admits Beijing has been giving potential coronavirus vaccine to key workers since July

WION Web Team
Beijing, China Published: Aug 24, 2020, 02:15 PM(IST)

Image for representation Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

China has ramped up its vaccine diplomacy efforts, offering prioritised access to countries where it is competing for influence amid souring relationships with other nations like the US, UK and Australia.

The Chinese government has been administering a potential coronavirus vaccine to a few key workers since July, a senior health official has admitted.

It appears to be the first confirmation of vaccine use by China outside clinical trials.

Zheng Zhongwei, the head of the National Health Commission’s science and technology centre, told state media organisation CCTV on Sunday the government had authorised “emergency use” of a Sars-Cov-2 vaccine for workers including health workers and border officials.

The country has gone seven days without reporting a locally transmitted case, and border workers are considered to be in a high-risk category, said Zheng, who leads the vaccination development taskforce.

Zheng said it had been administered in line with the law, under powers that allow limited use of the unapproved vaccines during serious public health events.

On Monday the Chinese premier, Li Keqiang, said China would prioritise countries from the Mekong region – which covers Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam – when it began international vaccine production. Li added China would also set up a “special public health fund” for the region.

China has ramped up its vaccine diplomacy efforts, offering prioritised access to countries where it is competing for influence amid souring relationships with other nations like the US, UK and Australia.

The World Health Organisation is tracking more than 170 vaccine candidates around the world, and China is producing several of those in phase three testing, when the vaccine is given to thousands of people to confirm its safety and effectiveness.

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