Coronavirus: China distributes unapproved vaccines to thousands of people:
First the employees of state-owned companies , then the members of the government and the employees of the pharmaceutical companies that produced the vaccines . And soon also teachers , supermarket staff and those who have traveled to areas at risk. The New York Times reports that a huge part of the population in China is and will soon be vaccinated against the new coronavirus . Although the scientific community has not yet managed to develop a safe and effective vaccine against Covid-19, the Chinese government has decided to speed up the timing and administer three candidate vaccines to tens of thousands of people , thus outside the normal testing process that serves precisely to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of a drug.
So far, no country other than China has distributed experimental vaccines on a large scale. While the unbridled rush for a vaccine continues at record speeds, the United States and other countries are moving with greater caution. American pharmaceutical companies, for example, despite pressure from President Donald Trump , have pledged to meet the timescales required to thoroughly examine candidate vaccines before their large-scale use . While in Russia , the first country to approve a vaccine before clinical trials are completed, authorities have yet to begin distributing it.
Of the only Chinese vaccine candidates currently in clinical trials, those used by the Chinese government are all in phase 3 (the last) of the trial, which is used to test the safety of a drug. But it’s still unclear, the New York Times points out , how many people have received these coronavirus vaccines to date. For example, Sinopharm , a Chinese state-owned company carrying out phase 3 studies of its candidate vaccine in the United Arab Emirates, Peru, Morocco and Argentina, reported that it has already administered it to hundreds of thousands of people, while Sinovac Biotech, a company based in Beijing, spoke to about 10,000 people, as well as all its employees (about 3,000) and their families.
Meanwhile, other government communications have asked officials to identify who could apply for a vaccine (use in emergency) and to include people in schools, kindergartens and nursing homes, as well as those traveling to high-risk areas. . According to reports in recent days by Zheng Zhongwei , of China’s National Health Commission, China has obtained “understanding and support” from the World Health Organization in order to start the trial plan for the emergency use of vaccines against the Covid-19 , before, therefore, that their efficacy and safety have been fully demonstrated by clinical studies.
Unapproved vaccines, however, could be dangerous. For example, as experts told The New York Times , in addition to the fact that they can have potential side effects , if they were ineffective they could give a false sense of security and, therefore, encourage behaviors that would greatly increase the number of Covid infections . 19 . “It may take three to six months before you get the results of phase 3, and you don’t have to wait that long now,” explained Raina MacIntyre , of the University of New South Wales at Sideny, noting that she would not recommend use in emergency vaccines before the conclusion of phase 3.