Now, China shares with Russia the dubious honour of rolling out an experimental coronavirus vaccine for public use, after bypassing clinical trials.
For the record, China began vaccinating high-risk groups in late July, which is three weeks earlier than Russia’s. Among those given the dose include medical workers and state-owned enterprise employees.
Officials around the world have been debating how far nations should cut corners to get covid-19 vaccines and treatments to market, especially since the pandemic's human and economic toll is mounting by the day, reports The Washington Post. However, the standard approval process for a new vaccine takes years and requires the observation of large numbers of patients over time to ensure safety and efficacy, the newspaper adds.
According to the Post, the Chinese authorities are considering expanding the ambit of vaccinations this fall to cover employees of food markets, transport systems and service industries. "In order to prevent the disease from spreading in the fall and winter, we are considering a moderate expansion in the program," Zheng Zhongwei, head of China's coronavirus vaccine development program, has said. "The purpose would be to first build an immunity barrier among special groups in the population," he explained.
China's military, too, has begun inoculating troops with the experimental vaccine. On Saturday, Chinese health officials said only a few people who were given the experimental vaccine had reported adverse effects, and none reported fevers. They did not give a number of how many have received the trial vaccines.