A US$60 double-dose experimental coronavirus vaccine is being made available to some residents in an eastern Chinese city, health officials have said, the first details of a mass rollout for an as yet unproven vaccine.
Officials in Jiaxing on Thursday said that residents aged 18 to 59 with “urgent needs” could seek consultations at clinics for a Sinovac Biotech vaccine that authorities have been giving to groups such as medical workers.
The statement from Jiaxing’s center for disease control and prevention did not specify what constituted “urgent needs.”
Authorities did not say how many people in the city had been given the vaccine, which comes in two doses, administered up to 28 days apart and costing 400 yuan (US$59.70).
China has given hundreds of thousands of essential workers at ports, hospitals and other high-risk areas across the country an experimental vaccine, officials said.
However, even as 11 Chinese vaccines have entered clinical trials — with four in advanced phase 3 trials — none have been approved for mass distribution.
China has approved some candidates for emergency use, with officials saying that they have not seen serious adverse reactions.
Beijing has also made bold predictions on a broader rollout before the end of the year, as it battles a storm of international criticism over its early handling of the outbreak.
Health officials told a news conference last month that the country expects to produce 610 million vaccine doses annually by the end of the year, stressing it would be affordable.
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