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China has been giving potential vaccine to key workers since July
Published on: 2020-08-25
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vaccine 01China has been giving doses of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate to "high risk" groups, including medical personnel, since late July, even though the clinical trials of the vaccine that would show whether it works have not been completed.

Over the weekend, Chinese health officials said the country had approved the emergency use of the vaccine, developed by the Beijing-based drug company Sinopharm, on July 22. Medical workers, customs and border officials and others at high risk of COVID-19 exposure are eligible to receive the vaccine.

Officials added that they hope to expand the use of this vaccine to other essential workers in the fall and winter.

China has already approved a different vaccine candidate, developed, in part, by the Tianjin, China-based company CanSino Biologics, for use in military personnel. Doses of that vaccine have been given to military personnel since June.

However, no COVID-19 vaccine candidates have completed phase 3 clinical trials. Only phase 3 trials, which often include tens of thousands of people, can determine whether a vaccine actually prevents COVID-19 infection. Such trials are a critical step in vaccine development, and longstanding U.S. regulations would require a completed phase 3 trial before a COVID-19 vaccine could be approved here. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that a COVID-19 vaccine should reduce the chances of infection by at least 50%, compared with a placebo.






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