Beijing: China is rapidly increasing the number of people receiving its experimental coronavirus vaccines, with a city offering one to the general public and a biotech company providing another free to students going abroad.
The city of Jiaxing, south of Shanghai, is offering a vaccine under development by Sinovac, it said in an announcement Thursday. It said high-risk groups, including people who are “responsible for the basic operations of the city” will receive priority, but that residents who have emergency needs can also sign up.
The vaccine is in the final stage of clinical testing, but has not yet been approved. The city government said it is being provided under an emergency authorization.
China National Biotech Group, another Chinese vaccine company, is offering its vaccine free to students who study abroad in a strategy health experts say raises safety and ethical concerns.
More than 168,000 people signed up to receive the vaccine via an online survey and more than 91,000 are being considered, CNBG said on its website. That page had been removed by Tuesday.
Chinese drug companies have five vaccines in final stages of testing but none is approved for public use. They are part of a global race to develop a vaccine that, if successful, offers the fledgling Chinese industry the potential for prestige and worldwide sales.