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China’s drug regulator greelights mass distribution of Sinopharm jab after it shows 79% effectiveness

The home-baked vaccine has received the green light from the National Medical Products Administration, China’s agency for regulating drugs and medical devices, an official with the watchdog told a press conference on Thursday.

The decision paves the way for a widespread rollout of the vaccine across the country, making it the first inoculation to be okayed for a mass-vaccination campaign in the original pandemic hotspot.

The approval is conditional, since the trials for the vaccine are still underway. A day before the announcement, the state-owned developer of the jab revealed that the preliminary analysis on the Phase III trial showed that it was safe to use and 79.34 percent effective against Covid-19.

While the inoculation is the brainchild of Sinopharm’s subsidiary, China National Biotec Group (CNBG), China was not the first country to clear the jab for use on the general public. Beijing followed suit of the United Arab Emirates, which released the vaccine for mass use earlier this month. However, the UAE’s own trials, conducted earlier in December, showed a higher effectiveness rate of about 86 percent. 

Sinopharm’s vaccine is one among a handful of Chinese inoculations in advanced trial stages. Since summer, China has distributed some 1.5 million doses of two different Sinopharm jabs, as well as one one developed by Sinovac, across the country through an emergency-use endeavour.

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