China’s emergency coronavirus vaccine programme is close to being rolled out nationwide. Sinovac Biotech Ltd, the Chinese firm leading the programme, has said initial research shows the vaccine is safe, including for the elderly – who are more vulnerable to the deadly virus.
Chinese researches have said preliminary results show the vaccine, named CoronaVac, appeared to be safe for elderly people.
But they did say the results of the mid-stage trial found immune responses triggered by the vaccine were slightly weaker than in younger adults.
Sinovac’s CoronaVac did not cause severe side effects in combined Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials launched in May, which involved 421 participants aged at least 60, Liu Peicheng, the firm’s media representative.
But the full results of the trials were not made available.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is working with Beijing on requirements for international approval of any Chinese COVID-19 vaccine, a senior official said on Monday.
CoronaVac is currently being tested in Brazil and Indonesia in final-stage human trials to evaluate whether the drug is safe and effective for mass use.
The vaccine has already been given to tens of thousands of people, including 90 percent of Sinovac employees and their families.
China hopes to roll out a vaccine to protect essential workers against a potential second wave of COVID-19.
So far no vaccine has passed final, large-scale trials to prove it is effective and safe enough to protect people against the virus.
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7.50am update: Recent rise in coronavirus cases is ‘concerning’, says minister
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said the recent rise in the number of coronavirus cases is “concerning”.
Mr Jenrick said it was essential that people followed the Government guidelines if they wanted to avoid the need for further restrictions.
He told Sky News: “The coronavirus is still with us so we all need to take great care. There is a concerning rise in cases and it reminds us that we have to keep following the guidance.
“Although we are encouraged to return to the workplace to support jobs, cafes and so on, we need to do so responsibly.
“As we approach the autumn and winter there is going to be even more responsibility on all of us to keep following the guidelines.
“Nobody wants to see a return to full national restrictions of the kind we had earlier this year.”