China Introduces Single-Dose Vaccine – After Broke Record With More Than 15 Million People Vaccinated In A Day

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May 21 2021
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China only managed to vaccinate more than 15 million people in the third week of January this year, even though it had actually started giving emergency vaccinations as early as July, 2020. The country officially kicked off of its mass vaccinations on 15 December, 2020, targeting high-risk groups such as healthcare workers and people who work or study overseas.


Armed with Coronavirus vaccines developed by Sinopharm and Sinovac, the Chinese government was rushing  to vaccinate as many as possible as the country prepared for the Lunar New Year. Of course, as proof that the country has succeeded in containing the virus, there hasn’t been any major outbreak since then, despite 1.7 billion trips made over the Chinese New Year holiday.


Some critics pointed to the unimpressive 15 million people given Covid-19 jabs as a sign of lack of confidence in locally developed vaccines. In a country with 1.4 billion population, perhaps administering 15 million shots in slightly a month isn’t impressive at all. However, it was just the beginning. If there’s one country that could deliver at lightning speed, it has to be China.

Coronavirus - China Covid-19 Vaccination

On Monday this week (17 May), China broke its own record for the sixth consecutive days of vaccinating more than 10 million doses – every day. This time, it managed to administer more than 15 million doses in a single day. Apparently, the accelerated vaccine drive came as a response to local outbreaks of Covid in the port city of Yingkou in the northeastern province of Liaoning.


But if you think this is insane, wait until you read this. Shao Yiming, a researcher with the China Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, said the country could inoculate as many as 20 million people in a single day if needed. In comparison, the United States reported an average of 1.8 million vaccinations per day, even though it had given 3.4 million daily shots during its peak on April 13.


At the rate of 15 million injections every day, it means China could vaccinate Malaysia’s entire population of 33 million in just 2 days. According to figures from Johns Hopkins University, China has reported 102,822 Covid-19 cases to date, about a fifth of Malaysia’s 500,000 infections. China only started reporting daily vaccinations in late March.

Coronavirus - China Mass Vaccination Covid-19

Beijing took 25 days to reach 200 million shots, 16 days to 300 million, but only 9 days to achieve the 400 million milestone on Sunday. In the last 8 days, Chinese health officials said 100 million doses had been administered, surpassing the country’s estimation of achieving 200 million jabs in 25 days. As of Wednesday (19 May), about 450 million doses had been administered across China.


Beijing announced in late March that 40% of its 1.4 billion population would be vaccinated by June. It also estimated between 70% to 80% could be fully inoculated by early next year, achieving herd immunity. To attract Chinese citizens to get vaccinated, the government has been giving away freebies, ranging from cash vouchers to cooking oil. Still, people don’t see the urgency.


Like other countries, China is facing challenges to convince its people to receive the jabs. Besides the fear of the vaccine’s side effects, astonishingly, people refuse to sign up because of the confidence that the country has already defeated Covid-19. It has kept the pandemic largely under control for more than a year, largely thanks to the aggressive response in suppressing the virus.

CanSino Biologics Building

To speed up its vaccination program in preparation for the possibility of a second wave or the spread of variants of Covid-19, China has just rolled out its first single-dose vaccine. Developed by the Chinese military and Tianjin-based biotech company CanSino Biologics, the homegrown Convidecia vaccine has been introduced in at least seven provincial-level regions, including Beijing.


Convidecia was granted a conditional marketing authorization by the National Medical Products Administration of China on 25 Feb, 2021, before getting authorization for emergency use in Hungary in March. The “Ad5-nCoV” vaccine was granted emergency use authorization in Chile, marking the first single-dose Covid-19 vaccine to be approved for emergency use in South America last month.


The vaccine, developed by CanSino, had conducted its Phase III trials in Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Pakistan, Russia and Saudi Arabia. In March, Pakistan received its first shipment of 60,000 doses of the single-dose Chinese vaccine. It was specifically administered to citizens above 80 years of age in order to prevent them from visiting the vaccination centres for the second time.

Coronavirus - China CanSino Vaccine

In Feb 2021, data released from an interim analysis of Phase III trials with 30,000 participants and 101 Covid cases showed Convidecia had an efficacy of 65.7% at preventing moderate cases of Covid-19 and 90.98% efficacy at preventing severe cases. However, Pakistan trials reported 100% protection from severe disease and 74.8% against any symptomatic Covid-19.


It means the CanSino vaccine has quite a similar efficacy to Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose regimen called “Ad26.COV2.S”, another genetically modified adenovirus vector vaccine with 66% efficacy in a global trial. The vaccine is based on technology similar to the Russian’s Sputnik V and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines.


Convidecia vaccine, first approved by the Chinese Central Military Commission for emergency use in June 2020, could be produced at its newly launched factory in Tianjin. CanSino Biologics said it is capable of providing the world with more than 600 million doses of Convidecia next year. An official in Zhejiang province said the one-dose vaccine has been a popular choice for obvious reason.

Coronavirus - China Mass Vaccination


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