March 26 (UPI) — Beijing said it plans to offer foreign residents a novel coronavirus vaccine, becoming the second city on the Chinese mainland to offer inoculation against COVID-19.
The municipality’s foreign affairs office said Friday that adult foreigners 18 years old or older are eligible for vaccine, Xinhua reported.
The vaccine is not free, though. The complete inoculation, which would include two shots taken at intervals, would cost the vaccine recipient about $14, but foreign residents who are part of the city’s social medical insurance plan can obtain the vaccine for free, according to the report.
Chinese authorities on Friday did not mention the brand names of the vaccines, but the doses are most likely from domestic firms.
Recipients must sign a disclaimer. Authorities in Shanghai and Beijing have said the government will not be responsible for any adverse side effects of the vaccine.
Earlier this year, a Brazilian study showed one of the vaccines manufactured by Sinovac Biotech, a Chinese biopharmaceutical company, is 78% effective against the coronavirus.
China rolled out its domestically developed COVID-19 vaccines late last year. The vaccines are from Sinovac and Sinopharm.
According to Chinese health authorities, more than 85.8 million doses of Chinese vaccines had been administered by Thursday. Authorities did not specify whether the vaccines required more than one shot.
The number indicates that anywhere from 3.2% to 6.1% of the adult population in China has received the vaccine, according to South Korean newspaper Seoul Economic Daily.
China’s vaccination rate is relatively low compared with other nations, including the United States. China previously said it plans to inoculate as many as 560 million people, or about 40% of the population, by the end of June.
Beijing has deployed its vaccines in other countries, including Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq and Serbia, according to state media.