China giving experimental coronavirus vaccines to high-risk groups since July: Official

China giving experimental coronavirus vaccines to high-risk groups since July: Official
China has been giving experimental coronavirus vaccines to groups facing high infection risks since July, a health official told state media. (File/AFP)
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Updated 22 August 2020

China giving experimental coronavirus vaccines to high-risk groups since July: Official

China giving experimental coronavirus vaccines to high-risk groups since July: Official
  • The aim is to boost the immunity of specific groups of people, including medical workers and those who work at food markets
  • Some countries are skeptical about China’s use of experimental vaccines

BEIJING: China has been giving experimental coronavirus vaccines to groups facing high infection risks since July, a health official told state media.
No vaccine has yet passed final, large-scale trials to prove it is safe and effective enough to protect people from contracting the virus that has led to almost 800,000 deaths worldwide.
The aim is to boost the immunity of specific groups of people, including medical workers and those who work at food markets and in the transportation and service sectors, Zheng Zhongwei, a National Health Commission official, told state TV in an interview aired late on Saturday.
Authorities could consider modestly expanding the emergency use program to try to prevent possible outbreaks during the autumn and winter, added Zheng, who heads the Chinese government-led team that coordinates state resources for coronavirus vaccine development.
The guidelines for emergency use of potential coronavirus vaccines, approved on June 24 according to Zheng, have not been made public.
State media Global Times reported in June that China had been offering candidate coronavirus vaccines to employees at state-owned firms traveling overseas.
Some countries are skeptical about China’s use of experimental vaccines. Papua New Guinea has denied entry to Chinese nationals who participated in a coronavirus vaccine trial, according to the Australian newspaper.
China’s coronavirus vaccines will be priced close to cost, Zheng said.
“It does not mean that companies cannot make profits,” Zheng said. “Companies should decide on moderate profits, or reasonable profits based on costs.”
A potential coronavirus vaccine being developed by a unit of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) could cost no more than 1,000 yuan ($144) for two shots, Sinopharm chairman Liu Jingzhen told state media last week.
“[The price] will definitely be lower than what Liu said,” Zheng said.


Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Updated 04 December 2020

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

Militants open fire and burn police car in Philippine town

COTABATO, Philippines: Dozens of militants aligned with the Daesh group opened fire on a Philippine army detachment and burned a police patrol car in a southern town but withdrew after troops returned fire, officials said Friday.
There were no immediate reports of injuries in Thursday night’s brief attack by the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters in Datu Piang town. Nevertheless it sparked panic among residents and rekindled fears of a repeat of a 2017 militant siege of southern Marawi city that lasted for five months before being quelled by government forces.
“We are on top of the situation. This is just an isolated case,” regional military commander Lt. Gen. Corleto Vinluan Jr. said in a statement.
Security officials gave differing statements on the motive of the 30 to 50 gunmen. Some said the militants targeted Datu Piang’s police chief over a feud but others speculated that the militants wanted to project that they are still a force to reckon with by attacking the army detachment in the center of the predominantly Muslim town.
Officials denied earlier reports that the militants managed to seize a police station and burn a Roman Catholic church.
When reinforcement troops in armored carriers arrived and opened fire, the militants fled toward a marshland, military officials said.
The Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters is one of a few small armed groups waging a separatist rural insurrection in the south of the largely Roman Catholic nation. The groups opposed a 2014 autonomy deal forged by the largest Muslim rebel group in the south with the Philippine government and have continued on and off attacks despite being weakened by battle setbacks, surrenders and factionalism.
The armed groups include the Abu Sayyaf, which has been blacklisted by the United States and the Philippines as a terrorist organization for kidnappings for ransom, beheadings and bombings.