China starts inoculating key groups with first approved COVID-19 vaccine

SABC News Vaccine R 1 - China starts inoculating key groups with first approved COVID-19 vaccine

Vaccinations began on Friday for key groups across China including in Beijing and east China’s Shandong Province using the country’s first approved COVID-19 vaccine, with the priority inoculation procedure expected to be completed by mid-February 2021. Workers from a local cold-chain food processing enterprise became the first batch of COVID-19 vaccine recipients at the vaccination clinic of a local health centre in Shandong’s Tancheng County.

“We were afraid to work in this industry. We’re really lucky to get vaccinated in the first batch, I feel thrilled and reassured now,” said Xia Dongdong, a worker at the cold-chain food processing enterprise.

The clinic is equipped with two qualified senior clinicians to identify and deal with possible adverse reactions in a timely manner, as well as adequate first-aid medicine and facilities and ambulances as vaccine recipients need to be observed for 30 minutes after being inoculated.

“No allergic reactions such as fever or vomiting have been detected with the vaccine recipients. The overall effects of the vaccine are very good so far,” said Yan Cuiting, deputy head of the Tancheng health centre.

Emergency-use COVID-19 vaccinations will be given to nine key groups of people and emergency workers aged between 18 and 59 before the Spring Festival in 2021, according to the Beijing Municipal Health Commission.

The first injection will be completed for all key populations by mid-January 2021, and the second jab will be given two to four weeks later. The priority groups include those engaged in inspection and quarantine of imported cold-chain products, overseas returnees, medical workers, social workers, customs officers, and people working in other exposed sectors, such as at ports and on public transport.

Beijing will organise vaccinations for non-priority groups after the end of China’s Spring Festival holiday period. The emergency-use COVID-19 vaccination for priority groups is not available for personal reservations at present.

China announced on Thursday it had granted conditional marketing authorisation for the first COVID-19 vaccine.

The inactivated vaccine, which got approval from the National Medical Products Administration (NMPA), has been developed by the Beijing Biological Products Institute under the China National Biotec Group (CNBG), affiliated with Sinopharm.

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