Vaccines likely to protect people for over half a year: China officials

A worker checks syringes of a potential vaccine Corona Vac on the production line at Sinovac Biotech in Beijing on 24 September

Although it is still too early to conclude that Chinese COVID-19 vaccines can offer life-long immunity or be effective for five or 10 years like many viral vaccines, there's little doubt that Chinese COVID-19 vaccines can offer effective protection for at least six months based on existing evidence, said Zeng Yixin, vice-minister of the National Health Commission. It would also lower the risks of domestic outbreaks of the epidemic, said Cui.

China is now planning wider distribution of the experimental shots with those working in hospitals, customs and cold-chain logistics as well as vulnerable groups, including people with pre-existing medical conditions, to receive them first.

To protect high-risk groups, China approved the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines in June.

'For the vaccines where we are moving quite fast, the number of cases required for the interim stage of Phase III clinical trials have already been obtained, Zheng said, without elaborating on specific products.

By the end of Saturday, 8,078 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including 129 deaths, had been reported in Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR), while 46 confirmed cases had been reported in Macau SAR, and 763 cases, including seven deaths, in Taiwan.

It has also approved a vaccine from CanSino Biologics Inc for military use but has not approved any vaccine for use among the general public.

The emergency vaccinations were given to people with high exposure risks on the premise of voluntary, informed consent.

On Wednesday, Zheng Zhongwei, the director of the Development Center for Medical Science and Technology of the National Health Commission, told state media Xinhua News Agency that the country is preparing for mass production of the vaccine.

By now, about 75,000 people overseas have been enrolled in the phase-3 trials of the three vaccines, with 150,000 doses inoculated.

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