China has administered nearly 65 million COVID-19 vaccine doses

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By Shen Shaotie, People’s Daily

As of March 14, China had administered 64.98 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the public, said Li Bin, deputy director of the National Health Commission (NHC) at a press conference on March 16.

The groups at high risk of infection are prioritized in the vaccination program, followed by the elderly and people with underlying health condition, Li said, adding that those who do not belong to the prior two groups but still wish to be inoculated are also covered.

According to him, the groups at high risk of infection include essential workers in key sectors, as well as people working in border regions and labor-intensive industries.

Relevant departments enhanced efforts to coordinate the demand and supply ends, and standardized vaccine storage and transport to improve delivery efficiency and guarantee supply, Li said. Local authorities also established enough vaccination sites in accordance with situations, he added.

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The country also established a nationwide tracking platform to strictly implement the control measures for the whole vaccine process, Li introduced. Disease control departments and vaccination sites are also monitoring and recording the temperature of vaccines in storage and transportation to ensure their safety.

Massive production of the four conditionally approved COVID-19 vaccines has started, and the vaccination demand is well satisfied, said Yulong, chief engineer at the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

China has received positive response for its vaccine aid and export to other countries. Right now, China’s vaccine manufacturers are constantly expanding, Tian said, adding that their production capacity is being continuously released and their output will gradually increase.

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“We are confident that output and production capacity of vaccines in every phase on the year could meet demand,” he remarked.

China also can ensure the smooth and systematic operation of the entire supply chain for vaccine production, including supplying the necessary raw materials, cold-chain logistics and equipment for administrating the shots.

Tian added the safety of vaccines, from production to transportation to inoculation, will be the top priority.

While expanding production capacity, China is also ensuring the safety of vaccines on every link of the production chain. According to Tian, the MIIT and medical products administration departments are jointly working to guarantee inspection periods of every batch of vaccines. 

Yuan Lin, an official with the National Medical Products Administration introduced that after years of efforts, China has established a relatively comprehensive supervision system, a complete legal system, and a system of quality standards for vaccines.

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Yuan noted that medical products administration departments organized inspections of relevant vaccine workshops to ensure that they were licensed, and arranged for expert inspectors from national and local drug regulatory authorities to carry out inspections and spot checks regularly or periodically. A team of at least two inspectors is stationed in each of the manufacturers to supervise different aspects using various measures, to supervise and guide companies to improve their management system, he added.

All COVID-19 vaccines used in China have gone through clinical studies according to relevant standards, and been approved by the National Medical Products Administration, Li said, adding that they were put into use after strict examination.

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Li said all vaccines must be monitored and have their temperatures recorded at regular intervals to ensure that they meet the requirements regarding temperature environment and transportation. The NHC also expanded its personnel training and asked all medical staff to strictly implement operating instructions to guarantee the effectiveness and safety of vaccines, he added.

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