Chinese Embassy says: 60,000 volunteers given COVID-19 vaccine
By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan
The Chinese Embassy in Colombo said 60,000 volunteers of 125 different nationalities, from more than 10 countries, have been injected with the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, as part of phase III of clinical trials.
Brazil, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Pakistan, Philippines, Argentina, Peru, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, Morocco, Bangladesh, and Indonesia are some of the countries that received the vaccine on a trial basis, but Sri Lanka was not among them, the Chinese Embassy said.
Chinese Embassy Spokesman, Luo Chong, said Chinese vaccines from different companies are doing phase III trials in collaboration with those mentioned countries.
The Embassy said there were no severe side effects reported after injecting the vaccine.
Deputy Director of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Tian Baoguo, had told Beijing, China, Media on 20 October that there were no reports that those who were injected with the vaccine suffered from severe side effects.
The Chinese Embassy said during Chinese senior official Yang Jiechi’s recent meetings with the Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister in Colombo, both sides agreed to have further cooperation, including vaccine development and distribution, to jointly fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Baoguo had further stated that only people with high exposure to COVID-19 such as medics, workers for anti-epidemic prevention and control work, border control staff, among others, have received vaccines for emergency use at the current stage, and the emergency use strictly follows the laws in China as well as the World Health Organization (WHO) rules, and has been reported to the WHO for ratification.
According to Tian, the most common adverse reactions in phase III clinical trials are pain and swelling in the injection area, followed by fever, both of which are mild.
China now has 13 vaccine candidates entering clinical trials, including four in phase III trials.
Two inactivated vaccines developed by the China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which is affiliated to Sinopharm, and the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products, have started phase III clinical trials in 10 countries, with more than 50,000 volunteers taking part, said the Chairman of Sinopharm, Liu Jingzhen.
Sinovac Biotech, another vaccine developer, said the Company’s partners in Brazil, Indonesia and Turkey have established monitoring systems for adverse reactions in accordance with internationally-accepted standards. So far, no severe ill reactions related to COVID-19 vaccines have been reported.
The international cooperation is part of efforts to make COVID-19 vaccines available to all as part of COVAX, the global initiative against “vaccine nationalism.” China, together with 183 other countries, has now joined COVAX, the COVID-19 global vaccine alliance designed to speed up development, promote the equitable distribution of vaccines globally, and to ensure that vaccines are available to developing countries.
Chinese authorities say the country will fulfil its commitments to make any vaccine a global public good. The aim is to curb the virus and its threat to the health and safety of people of all countries. “Although we’re leading the world in vaccine development and have sufficient production capacity, we have decided to join COVAX,” an official from the Chinese Foreign Ministry explained that Beijing also wants to encourage other capable countries to join the initiative through its participation.
China is expected to produce up to 610 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this year, the Head of China’s COVID-19 vaccine development task force, Zheng Zhongwei said at a Media briefing, adding that the capacity will be further expanded to over one billion shots in 2021, to ensure sufficient and safe supply, and that the price of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines “will certainly be within a scope that the public can accept.”