Not ready except for "emergency use"
China has four experimental vaccines developed by three companies now going through phase III human trials and safety testing before they can be approved for commercial use. Sinopharm and Sinovac, the two front-runners, have both stressed they are not ready to deploy their vaccines commercially.
"The vaccines developed by Sinopharm are in the final sprint, the last kilometer in a long march," said Liu Jingzhen, the company's chairman, said at a government press conference in October.
In reality, their vaccines had already been deployed months earlier this summer for "emergency use" and shot into the arms of people that China deems vulnerable to COVID-19, including front-line medical workers and critical service providers in large cities.
Sinovac has already set up several vaccination sites in China's coastal Zhejiang province where several hundred vaccine doses each day are sold first come first served for about RMB400 ($60) in out of pocket costs. Other countries are following suit; the Philippines says it will vaccinate up to 9 million people with Sinovac's product. The Brazilian state of Sao Paolo is conducting advanced human trials for Sinovac and intends to buy the vaccine once approved.
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