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Beijing goes full throttle in COVID-19 vaccine production

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-03-30 17:12

A worker performs a quality check in the packaging facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech in Beijing on Sept 24, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

BEIJING -- Beijing has gone all out to boost the production of COVID-19 vaccines, with the combined capacity of Sinopharm and Sinovac in the Chinese capital expected to reach up to 3 billion doses within the year.

"We are accelerating the construction of new vaccine production lines and aiming to achieve an annual capacity of 2 billion doses in the first half of this year," said Liu Peicheng, director of brand and public relations at Sinovac Life Sciences Co Ltd.

Sinovac rolled out its first COVID-19 vaccine production line in August last year, with an annual capacity of 500 million doses. This February, its second production line entered operation, pushing the company's annual capacity of vaccines to over 1 billion.

No abnormalities related to the vaccine have been detected so far, Liu said, adding that the incidence of adverse reactions to vaccines in the elderly group was similar to that in the adult group, both relatively low.

Sinopharm's bioscience subsidiary the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) has also vowed to attain an annual capacity of 1 billion doses within the year, and up to 3 billion in the near future, through continuous capacity expansion.

The CNBG said it has actively participated in international cooperation on vaccines and strives to provide safe, effective, accessible and affordable vaccines for all countries through the COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative.

Sinopharm vaccines have been rolled out in more than 40 countries and regions, and have been highly recognized by the international community for their safety, effectiveness, population universality, accessibility and convenience in storage and transportation.

The daily production has increased from 1.5 million doses on Feb. 1 to about 5 million, with a total of more than 100 million doses supplied across the country, said Xiao Yaqing, Minister of Industry and Information Technology.

Xiao added that the quality and safety of COVID-19 vaccines should always come first and be placed at the forefront of production and supply.

China has so far approved four vaccines against COVID-19 for conditional marketing and another vaccine for emergency use.

As of March 28, Beijing had inoculated 8.7 million people, among whom 5.28 million completed the two-shot regimen, taking the total administered doses of domestically developed COVID-19 vaccines to 13.98 million in the city.

According to officials, the city is capable of administering 300,000 doses a day.

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