China approves second domestic Covid-19 vaccine for public use
A Chinese pharma company on Saturday said its Covid-19 vaccine has been approved for public use by China’s top medical products regulator. Sinovac Biotech’s announcement marked it as the second locally-made coronavirus cleared for mass inoculations.
The first vaccine was developed by a Beijing institute affiliated to state-owned China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), and approved in December.
In June 2020, the Sinovac vaccine was the first to be approved for emergency use in China, and since July, emergency use has been launched in China for specific groups of people.
Since then - and before prior approvals - both vaccines have already been used in China’s vaccination programme.
Indonesia, Turkey, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Uruguay, and Laos have granted emergency use authorisations for the CoronaVac vaccine developed by Sinovac Life Sciences, Sinovac said in a news release.
The basic immunisation programme of the vaccine comprises two doses with an interval of 14 to 28 days.
In January, researchers in Brazil had reported that CoronaVac was 50.4% effective at preventing severe and mild Covid-19 in late-stage trials, much lower than the 90% efficacies of some of the leading vaccines.
“The CoronaVac figures were much lower than those from early trials of the same vaccine in Turkey and Indonesia, and below the efficacy first reported by the Brazil trial team last week,” Nature magazine reported in January.
Nature reported that Butantan Institute in São Paulo had announced on January 7 that the vaccine’s efficacy was 78% at preventing the disease - but revealed later that the figure was based on the narrow criteria of people needing medical attention.
Until February 3, China had administered 31.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to key groups of people, Mi Feng, national health commission (NHC) spokesperson, said on Thursday.
China aims to vaccinate 50 million people before the start of the Lunar New Year in the second week of February when millions are expected to travel.