The issue of public vaccination is one of balancing “risks and benefits”, he added, citing factors such as costs and potential side effects. There is currently no need for mass vaccination at this stage – although that could change if another serious outbreak occurs, Gao said.
The policy marks China, in addition to many Western governments, most notably Australia, which have outlined plans to launch mass public vaccination campaigns.
The number of viruses reported for China has remained low since the spring. There were several exacerbations ̵
Gao cites these brief outbreaks as evidence of effective measures to curb China. “The facts have proven that we have several magic weapons to respond to the epidemic,” he said, according to China News Service.
Instead, any potential vaccine will be prioritized for those on the front lines, he added: health workers, Chinese citizens working abroad in viral outlets, and people working in dense, high-risk environments such as restaurants, schools or cleaning services.
CNN contacted the NHC for further comment.
Global vaccine race
China is the largest producer and consumer of vaccines in the world and can supply more than 1 billion doses of vaccine annually from 40 manufacturers across the country, according to a report by the Chinese Human Vaccine Industry for the period 2018-2022.
Of the more than 30 vaccines currently being tested on humans worldwide, nine are from China – the most from each country. And four of the nine late-stage vaccine candidates are being developed by Chinese companies.
Other countries may follow suit; the Indian Minister of Health said on Sunday that the government is considering granting an emergency permit to applicants for the Covid-19 vaccine before the completion of phase 3 studies.
Experts have previously said that vaccination is key for countries like China, where the percentage of infected people in the population is relatively low due to strict restrictive measures.
But Gao warned on Saturday that vaccine development is still under development, with risks of bad side effects.
“Since the Covid-19 vaccine has never been developed before, making this case the first in science, it is possible that it will cause ADE (antibody-dependent improvements) effects like any other we may encounter,” he said. Global Times.
ADE is when specific antibodies help the virus enter cells and replicate – mainly when treatment exacerbates the disease.
“Research is a very rigorous process, we need to give scientists a little more time,” he added.