China grants conditional approval for first COVID vaccine
China announced it has granted conditional market approval for its first COVID-19 vaccine during a news conference on Dec 31.
The vaccine, developed by State-owned Sinopharm, was approved by China's top drug regulator on Wednesday night, said Chen Shifei, deputy head of the National Medical Products Administration.
The vaccine is generally safe and has a 79.34 percent efficacy rate according to clinical results released by the company on Wednesday. Strict supervision will continue to be carried out over the vaccine after its approval to ensure its safety and quality, Chen said.
A total of 14 COVID-19 vaccines developed by China are now under clinical trials, including five under phase-3 trials.
Before the official approval of the vaccine, the vaccine and several other COVID-19 vaccines in phase-3 clinical trials have already been put into emergency use in China over the past few months. Millions of doses have been used for priority groups such as frontline medical workers and people going overseas to work, and the safety and efficacy of the vaccines have been proved, said Zeng Yixin, vice-minister in charge of the National Health Commission.