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China says WHO gave blessing for coronavirus vaccine emergency use programme

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Health Desk-26 Sep 2020: Vaccinate certain people against coronavirus in July while clinical trials were still under way, a Chinese health official said on Friday, although some experts have expressed concern about the move.

China launched its emergency programme in July, having communicated with the WHO in late June, according to Zheng Zhongwei, a National Health Commission official.

In China, the vaccine price will be affordable for the general public, Zheng added.

“At end-June, China’s State Council approved a plan of COVID-19 vaccine emergency use program,” Zheng told a news conference.

WHO chief scientist Soumya Swaminathan said earlier this month that emergency use authorization for coronavirus vaccine is a “temporary solution,” and that the long-term solution lay in completion of Phase 3 trials.

Beijing has not publicly released full details of its emergency use programme.

At least three vaccine candidates, including two developed by state-backed China National Biotec Group (CNBG) and one from Sinovac Biotech, all in Phase 3 trials overseas, are included in the emergency use programme.