A Chinese drug manufacturer inoculated about 90% of its employees with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine and experienced "very low" adverse reactions, the company said at a trade fair in Beijing.
Sinovac Biotech, a 21-year-old Beijing-based pharmaceutical firm, offered the vaccine, currently in Phase 3 clinical trials, on a voluntary basis to it employees and their families under China's emergency use program launched in July.
Between 2,000 and 3,000 people opted to receive the vaccinations, officials from the company told both Reuters and the South China Morning Post.
The emergency program is aimed at specific groups, such as medical personnel, food market workers and drug companies, both publications said, indicating Chinese officials are concerned about a recurrence of the breakout in the country, where the SARS-CoV-2 virus is believed to have originated.
"It will also prevent repeated epidemics in the coming autumn and winter seasons," Sinovac chief executive Weidong Yin said at the China International Fair for Trade in Services, according to the South China Morning Post.
"If there is one person infected in this venue, it will affect hundreds of people. The strong control strategy in China needs to be improved, and improvement needs to rely on vaccines."
Sinovac was included in the program because it was considered vital.
"As a vaccine developer and manufacturer, a new outbreak could directly impact our vaccine production," Yin told Reuters.
Yin said he was inoculated. The side effects of CoronaVac, which Yin characterized as "very low" include mostly mild fatigue, fever, and pain, according to results of a mid-stage trial sponsored by Sinovac, involving 600 participants and published last month ahead of peer review.
The employees and families who took the vaccine were not included in any trial.
Including Sinovac's CoronaVac, China has three vaccines currently in Phase 3 trials, according to the tech website BGR.
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