Sichuan starts emergency vaccine use for 12 priority groups, mass inoculation to follow

▲A staff member displays a sample of the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine at a vaccine production plant of China National Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. (Sinopharm) in Beijing, capital of China, April 10, 2020. (Xinhua/Zhang Yuwei)

Southwest China’s Sichuan Province has started coronavirus vaccine emergency use for 12 types of high-risk groups – about 2 million people – with inoculation scheduled to be completed by the end of the year. The public will have access to the vaccine after the upcoming 2021 Chinese Spring Festival begins on February 12. 

Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province, has reported five domestic COVID-19 cases in the last two days, raising public concerns. 

According to the local immunization plan, the first batch of high-risk groups includes medical workers providing aid in overseas countries, first-line clinical medics, port workers, students or workers going abroad, workers in the cold-chain food industry, teachers, and COVID-19 screening staff in communities, media reports said. 

The next batch of people to be given priority for vaccination are vulnerable groups such as the elderly, and they are expected to be vaccinated early next year, Sichuan Daily reported on Tuesday.

Vaccination of the general population is expected to begin after the Lunar New Year in February, depending on the availability of vaccines.

Luan Rongsheng, deputy head of the epidemic control team with the local Ministry of Health, said that if the vaccination rate reaches more than 80 percent among the public, it will be difficult for the virus to circulate again.

It was reported that inactivated COVID-19 vaccines were the main vaccines to be administered in Sichuan. The vaccine costs 200 yuan ($30.62) per dose, the same as the one used in East China’s Zhejiang Province for emergency use previously. 

Global Times

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