Public health experts warn that the wide-reaching emergency use program poses risks.
China has taken a shortcut in the global sprint to develop and deliver vaccines for the novel coronavirus. Sinopharm, the state-owned company developing two of China’s leading vaccine candidates, told China National Radio on Monday that it has already vaccinated hundreds of thousands of Chinese citizens — even though the company’s phase 3 clinical trials have not yet concluded.
Individuals received one of two Sinopharm vaccines in development in an emergency use program launched by the Chinese government in late July, which also authorized a third vaccine, CoronaVac, developed by the privately owned drugmaker Sinovac Biotech. Under Chinese vaccine law, such authorization is allowed within a certain scope and time frame during a health emergency. China’s top vaccine official mentioned front-line medical workers and customs officials when he first announced the program, implying these high-risk groups had been prioritized to receive the still-experimental vaccines.