Provincial governments across China are placing orders for experimental, domestically made vaccines for the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19), though health officials have yet to say how well they work or how they may reach the country’s 1.4 billion people.
Developers are speeding up final testing, the Chinese foreign minister said during a United Nations meeting last week, as Britain approved emergency use of Pfizer’s vaccine candidate and providers scrambled to set up distribution.
“We must be prepared for large-scale production,” Vice Premier Sun Chunlan said during a visit Wednesday to developers.
The government has yet to say how many people it plans to vaccinate. But Chunlan vaccinating border personnel and other high-risk populations will start this month.
Even without final approval, more than 1 million health care workers and others in China who are deemed at high risk of infection have received experimental vaccines under emergency use permission. Developers have yet to disclose how effective their vaccines are and possible side effects.
China’s fledgling pharmaceutical industry has at least five vaccines from four producers being tested in more than a dozen countries.
However, China said it will ensure the products are affordable for developing countries and has been actively pursuing deals across the world.
On Sunday, 1.2 million doses of the Chinese company Sinovac’s vaccine arrived in Indonesia, the government said. SOVEREIGNPH