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Over 73,000 get COVID-19 vaccines since Beijing begins inoculation

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-01-04 08:47

A medical worker injects a man with a COVID-19 vaccine at a healthcare center in Beijing, Jan 2, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

BEIJING -- A total of 73,537 people in Beijing have received the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine at 220 inoculation venues in two days since the city began administering the jab among specific groups of people with higher infection risks on Friday.

No serious side effects have been observed among the vaccine receivers, Gao Xiaojun, a spokesperson for the municipal health commission told a press briefing Sunday.

The inoculation currently mainly covers nine groups of people aged 18 to 59 in Beijing. These include frontline customs inspectors of imported cold-chain goods and personnel working in the overseas and domestic transportation sector.

A female staffer at a vaccination point in Beijing's Xicheng District was found waiting for recipients at 7 a.m. Sunday.

"I'm responsible for ID verification and registration before they get the vaccine," said the woman with face and hands turned red due to the cold. "Here we mainly serve practitioners in cold-chain and catering industries. Everyone queued up in an orderly way and fully understood and supported our work."

"Our company informed us of nine possible contraindications to receive the vaccine. Since I have none of them I came without hesitation," said Xie Fei, who works at a Walmart store in the district.

"The injection was administered in minutes and I have been observed for half an hour. Currently I don't have any discomfort," said Xie, who came with about 30 colleagues. "I'm frequently exposed to imported cold-chain food at work, and the COVID-19 vaccination not only protects me but also customers."

Zheng Ying, head of a health service center in Guangwai Community, Xicheng District, told Xinhua that the center can receive 1,200 recipients a day.

"All the vaccination venues have been set up in idle factories, gymnasiums and other similar places to help prevent and control the spread of the virus," said Niu Xiangjun, deputy director of the health commission in Beijing's Daxing District.

According to Niu, so far a total of 17 temporary vaccination sites have been set up in Daxing District, covering about 100,000 people with higher infection risks. Of them, about one-fifth do work related to the newly- built Beijing Daxing International Airport. "We have trained our medics in advance and stationed ambulances at these venues to help with the vaccination," said Niu.

People receiving the jab will have the information updated on Beijing's health code app, Gao noted, adding that those who have urgent plans to travel overseas can apply for COVID-19 inoculation at the community service center.

After the vaccines receive market approval, authorities in Beijing will start vaccination for other groups on a reservation basis, said Gao at an earlier press conference.

China approved the emergency use of COVID-19 vaccines in June, targeting groups with high risk of infection. By the end of November, more than 1.5 million doses of Chinese COVID-19 vaccines had been distributed for emergency use.

A total of 60,000 vaccinated people have traveled abroad to high-risk regions, with no severe adverse reactions reported, according to Zeng Yixin, deputy head of the National Health Commission (NHC).

On Dec. 15, China officially launched a vaccination program for this winter-spring period targeting several key groups. By the end of December, the number of vaccine doses among the key groups exceeded 3 million.

"The 3 million vaccine doses plus the previous 1.5 million doses fully prove that Chinese vaccines are safe," Zeng noted.

China announced Thursday that it had granted conditional marketing authorization to its first self-developed COVID-19 vaccine. The inactivated vaccine got approval from the National Medical Products Administration. It was developed by the Beijing Biological Products Institute Co. Ltd. under the China National Biotec Group, affiliated with Sinopharm.

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