Chinese health officials discussed rolling out vaccinations in two batches before January 15 and February 5 in a conference call earlier this week, according to people close to the matter.
China announced that it has already administered more than 1 million COVID-19 vaccines since July. It now plans a phased rollout that will initially focus on workers at higher risk of infection, reported Bloomberg.
According to the news report, vaccines developed by Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and the state-owned China National Biotec Group Co. have been dispensed in the country since they were granted emergency-use authorization in July.
In a two-step vaccination drive, the vaccines will be first given to the priority groups, including those engaged in handling imported cold-chain products, and people working in sectors such as port inspection and quarantine, aviation, public transport, fresh market, medical treatment, and disease control, said Cui Gang, an official with NHC’s disease control department, Associated Press reported.
This will help relieve the pressure on China in preventing and controlling imported COVID-19 cases, as well as lower risks of domestic outbreaks of the epidemic, the official said.
A later phase of the rollout will involve the general public, Zeng Yixin, Vice-Minister at China’s National Health Commission, told reporters in Beijing on December 19.