Feb. 4 (UPI) — China said it administered more than 31 million doses of domestically developed COVID-19 vaccines since mid-December, inoculating mainly “high-risk” groups.
Mi Feng, a spokesman for China’s National Health Commission, said Thursday that by end of the day before, the country had provided 31,236,000 injections, China Central Television reported Thursday.
Chinese health officials have previously said they would vaccinate 50 million citizens deemed high risk before the Lunar New Year holidays, from Feb. 11 to 17. The statement issued Thursday did not mention specific vaccines, or whether the vaccine required more than one shot.
China has been inoculating its population with vaccines from two companies, Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm. Both vaccines have been introduced in countries such as Turkey, Brazil, Indonesia, Pakistan, Iraq and Serbia, according to China News Network.
On Thursday, Xinhua reported Serbian President Alesander Vucic said he is “proud” Serbia is the first European country to deploy Chinese vaccines.
Sinovac could be expanding the scope of its vaccine to reach more people in China, after China conditionally approved Sinopharm’s product in late December for public use.
According to Xinhua on Thursday, the Chinese biopharmaceutical company said it has applied for conditional approval from China’s State Food and Drug Administration.
Sinovac said Wednesday that Phase 3 clinical trials showed “progress” for the CoronaVac inoculation, which the company claimed meets the technical standards of the World Health Organization and the Chinese drug agency.
China has championed domestically developed vaccines but has barred the release of original clinical trial data.
Ding Sheng, dean of Tsinghua University’s School of Pharmaceutical Sciences and director of the Global Health Drug Discovery Institute, said the data should be disclosed to the public to better assess their efficacy and eliminate concerns, according to Chinese news service Caixin.
The Sinovac vaccine reported an efficacy rate of 50.38% in Brazil. The company said it is more than 78% effective against the novel coronavirus.