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Chinese coronavirus vaccine: people travel to Zhejiang in hopes of getting an experimental shot

Ku has worked in Chile for more than 20 years as an importer and exporter, but she returned home to southern China earlier this year after the coronavirus pandemic worsened and a large number of cases occurred in South America.

There has been no official announcement that Yiwu has a vaccine – just a series of articles in local media – but Ku believes it needs the shot to leave China and return to work abroad. “If someone has (the vaccine), it is much safer to leave the country,” she said.

Yiwu is one of the few cities to launch an experimental coronavirus vaccine for public selection in recent weeks, although the drug is still in clinical trials. Jiaxing, another city in Zhejiang Province, announced on October 1

5 that it would sell vaccines to citizens in “urgent” need.

“Citizens with urgent needs for vaccination can go to the public consultation clinic with the precondition of voluntary and informed consent,” the Jiaxing Centers for Disease Control published on its official WeChat account on October 15. two doses are required after distribution, according to the statement.

There is currently no coronavirus vaccine that has been successfully tested and proven to be safe to use. As of October, four applicants for the Covid-19 vaccine, designed by Chinese companies, were in phase 3 clinical trials, the last and most important step before regulatory approval for the drug.

When CNN visited the hospital in Yiwu, where Ku had gone on October 19, officials confirmed that they had done experimental coronavirus vaccinations on citizens who urgently needed to travel abroad in the past week. However, no one CNN spoke to received the vaccine.

The Yiwu government has not yet made a public statement on the launch of the experimental vaccines. CNN contacted them for comment.

Guangdong resident Ani Ku is in front of a hospital in the eastern Chinese city of Yiwu, where she is trying to get an experimental coronavirus vaccine.

The authorities in Jiaxing and Yiwu did not explicitly state what the “urgent” need for the experimental vaccine was, what evidence was needed to show that you needed a shot, or why those cities in Zhejiang were allowed to give emergency doses. rather than larger metropolises such as Beijing or Shanghai.

On Tuesday, an article in the state-run tabloid Global Times denied that Covid-19 vaccines were publicly available at all.

However, this did not prevent some regular citizens from arriving in Yiwu and Jiaxing by train or plane in the hope of receiving the experimental vaccine.

Other cities in Zhejiang are still announcing the introduction of vaccinations using experimental drugs. On Tuesday, the city of Shaoxing said that “emergency vaccinations” will be distributed in the fall and winter, and the time and date are yet to be announced.

Unapproved vaccines

Since the initial outbreak in December 2019, China has slowly brought its local coronavirus epidemic under control through a combination of city-wide blockades, mass tests and sophisticated tracking and tracking tools.

Beijing is now at the forefront of global efforts to find a coronavirus vaccine, with Chinese President Xi Jinping repeatedly urging scientists in the country to speed up their work. On October 20, Tian Baoguo, an employee of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said that 60,000 people had been injected as part of drug trials and no serious side effects had been reported.

“Currently, work on research and development of vaccines in China is at the forefront,” he said.

China is doubling global pressure for a coronavirus vaccine

But before approving any vaccine, the Chinese government has continued with a series of vaccinations for people it considers to be at risk or in high-ranking positions.

The obvious impetus to make the vaccine publicly available contrasts with other countries, including the United States, where drug manufacturers and regulators have so far been cautious.

In June, Beijing approved the use of the experimental vaccine by CanSino Biologics in the country’s military.

Three months later, the Chinese government approved the emergency use of the vaccine by the Chinese National Pharmaceutical Group, also known as Sinopharm, for medical professionals, diplomats in high-risk countries and employees of state-owned companies operating abroad.

A large number of people have already been vaccinated. In early October, Yang Xiaoming, chairman of China’s National Biotechnology Group, which currently has two vaccines in phase 3, said their medicine has so far been given to about 350,000 people in emergency doses approved by the Chinese government. These vaccinations are not part of ongoing drug trials.

Dr. Jin Dong-yang, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong, told CNN that it was “risky” to move on with immunizations before the drug was fully tested and cleared.

“There are many examples in the history of vaccine development that even if the vaccine has passed the phase 3 tests, there may still be problems,” said Gene. None of the experimental vaccines has yet passed phase 3.

The Yiwu and Jiaxing vaccine programs are not the first time an unapproved coronavirus vaccine has been offered to Chinese citizens for choice.. In early October, Sinopharm released an online offer of a free vaccine for Chinese students heading abroad to study.

However, after being advertised for several days, the offers were withdrawn and it is not clear whether or not vaccines were actually provided.

Mino Guo was one of the students who registered for the vaccine while living in her hometown of Guangdong, in the south of the country, because she wanted to return to her studies in the United States in November.

“The situation in the United States is a bit serious. I’m not very worried, but my family and friends around me are worried about my life there. So I think I need to get vaccinated to make my family feel safe.” , she said.

Goo said she was a little worried about the effect the vaccine might have on her, but in the end she never received it.

There is currently no special treatment in China for people who have received the experimental coronavirus vaccine, such as being allowed to travel without a mask.

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