Hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 vaccines administered under emergency use programme in China

Hundreds of thousands of doses of COVID-19 vaccines have reportedly been administered to frontline workers in China under an emergency use programme.

Among those eligible for the emergency vaccine are medical professionals, diplomats deployed to high-risk countries, and state-owned company employees working overseas under China's Belt and Road Initiative.

Hong Kong, China Hong Kong, China

Chinese health officials have today said they received support from the World Health Organisation (WHO) before starting the emergency vaccine programme.

China has been administering experimental coronavirus vaccines to people since July before their safety and efficacy have been fully proven by clinical trials.

Many vaccine experts and developers have warned of the dangers associated with premature authorisation of coronavirus vaccines before last-stage trials are complete.

A staff member displays a sample of the COVID-19 inactivated vaccine at a vaccine production plant of China National Pharmaceutical Group Co., Ltd. (Sinopharm)

According to the WHO, China currently has 11 vaccines in clinical trials and four of these are in Phase 3 trials.

Globally, there are 38 vaccines in human trials, and just nine of them have reached the last stage of testing.

The vaccines being administered have reportedly not reached phase 3 trials and are being developed by the state-owned China National Biotech Group, Sinopharm.

In a statement released by Sinopharm this month, it said its two potential vaccines had been administered "hundreds of thousands of times" under the emergency use program approved by the government.

According to Reuters, another vaccine included in China's emergency programme is in Phase 3 trials and was developed by Sinovac Biotech.

A COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine candidate at Sinovac Biotech Ltd

Meanwhile, according to the UAE's Health Ministry, they have also approved the emergency use of one of Sinopharm's vaccines for frontline workers.

This news follows a decision by the Chinese government to use a different vaccine undergoing trials for the country's military back in June.