China's Sinopharm says its Covid-19 vaccine works against mutations

SHANGHAI : Health workers in Shanghai were given Covid-19 inoculations this week, as China's Sinopharm insisted its vaccine was effective against current virus mutations.

China is racing to vaccinate millions ahead of the country's Chinese New Year travel rush.

Pharma giant Sinopharm was given "conditional" approval for its vaccine candidate last week, and makers said they were confident the vaccine was effective despite a new variant strain spreading rapidly.

The "current mutation of the Covid-19 virus has not been able to make the vaccine ineffective", Mr Yang Xiaoming, president of the group's China National Biotec Group subsidiary, told state broadcaster CCTV on Monday.

Vaccination programmes are being rolled out for key groups across China, state media reported, such as workers in community roles, logistics or food sectors.

Unlike the approach taken in many European countries, China is only vaccinating those aged between 18 and 59.

The vaccine - which Sinopharm says has a 79 per cent efficacy rate - requires two doses with an interval of two to four weeks.

Next month, the world's largest human migration sees millions of people travel across China to celebrate Chinese New Year with their families.

Authorities said more than 73,000 including bus drivers and community workers have already been vaccinated in Beijing, where people were seen queuing at vaccination centres to receive their shot. - AFP