The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) across some Chinese provinces denied they are undertaking COVID-19 vaccine inoculation for emergency use or that they have short-term plans for it before the vaccine gets official approval for mass production. It is seen as a rebuttal of media hype that the vaccination is now available for the public in China.
Local CDC departments of South China's Guangdong Province, North China's Shanxi Province, and Central China's Anhui Province all confirmed to thepaper.com that they have no arrangements for COVID-19 vaccination for emergency use at the moment.
Several cities in Zhejiang Province have been cautiously rolling out COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use, which is limited to specific groups including workers and students who need to travel abroad. As Chinese vaccines are still in clinical trials, the scope of vaccination is limited to special groups with an urgent need and is not for the general public, local officials and health workers told the Global Times on Sunday.
However, some Western media reports said that China is giving unproven vaccines on a large scale to ordinary people to boost confidence in homegrown inoculations, drawing denials from CDC workers across some Chinese cities.
A worker participating in provincial vaccine orders at East China's Jiangsu Province CDC suggested that Zhejiang is following the standard vaccine procurement procedure. The urgent procurement plan was given by the local government, not the CDC.
The emergency plan for Jiangsu Province has not come out yet and the status is not yet clear, said the worker.
A staff member from the Jiangsu Provincial Center for Disease Control and Prevention, who is in charge of the provincial vaccine procurement, said that Zhejiang follows the emergency procurement procedure, and the plan is made by the provincial government, with the CDC having no leading power.
"The emergency plan for Jiangsu province has not come out yet, so I don't know which steps it will take," the worker said.
As the onset of the autumn-winter season raises the risk of respiratory diseases, Zhejiang's provincial government announced it would cautiously arrange emergency vaccination against the coronavirus at a press conference held on Friday.
Jiaxing in Zhejiang announced the registration for COVID-19 vaccine emergency use - for voluntary and high-risk groups first - on Thursday, becoming one of China's first cities to officially launch the emergency vaccination.
Beijing's CDC also suggested it has not received any notice on emergency vaccination as of press time, thepaper.com reported. Zhejiang is the only province that has officially promoted the emergency vaccination so far.