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|Illustrative photo: Xinhua.|
Reuters reported that Sinopharm has said its experimental vaccine could be ready for public use by the end of this year. It has entered a late-stage human test in the United Arab Emirates to gather proof of efficacy for final regulatory approvals.
"It will not be priced very high. It is expected to cost a few hundred yuan for a shot, and for two shots it should be less than 1,000 yuan," chairman Liu Jingzhen of Sinopharm told the Guangming Daily newspaper.
|Governments and drugmakers around the world are in a frenetic race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. More than 200 candidates are in development, including more than 20 in human clinical trials.|
Russia became the first nation to complete clinical trials of Covid-19 vaccine on humans registering name as Sputnik V, and the results have proven the medication's effectiveness, TASS said.
Alexey Repik, the chairman of major Russian pharmaceutical firm R-Pharm, said in an interview with a local TV channel on Wednesday that two batches of vaccine -- enough to be administered to a single person -- will be exported at around 10 dollars, KBS reported. He said if production levels increase, export prices could be lowered.
Moderna Inc said earlier this month that smaller volumes of its experimental vaccine have been priced at USD 32-USD 37 per dose.
Last month, the US government struck a deal for an experimental vaccine being developed by Pfizer and partner BioNTech SE that secures enough to innoculate 50 million Americans for about USD 40 a person.
Sinopharm's Liu did not mention whether China's state-backed nationwide insurance program would cover some of the vaccine costs for consumers, or whether it could be included in the country's free vaccination scheme.
China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a Sinopharm unit, has moved two vaccine strains using the same method into human trials. Its plants in Wuhan and Beijing combined could make over two million doses of the drug annually.
Coronavirus vaccine will be ready by
The head of a major state-owned Chinese pharmaceutical company said its coronavirus vaccine will be commercially available by the end of the year, according to Global Times.
Not all 1.4 billion Chinese people need to be vaccinated, Liu said, suggesting that students and those working in cities should take the injections while people who live in rural areas with comparatively smaller populations do not have to.
After the vaccine became available to the public, some major groups like medical workers and students could probably get it for free, while others would have to get vaccinated at their own expense, analysts said.
Sinopharm started to offer free voluntary injections to front-line medical workers in some State-owned hospitals on an urgent basis in late July, according to some medical workers reached by the Global Times.
The news triggered heated discussion on Chinese social media platforms. In a survey on Weibo of nearly 5,000 respondents, 2,527 said they could not afford the vaccine while another 2,127 said the cost was low enough that they'd take the injections.
Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based vaccine researcher, told the Global Times on Tuesday that voluntary self-financed vaccinations are acceptable as the epidemic in China has been kept to a very low level.
"The national authority may make other arrangements if a new outbreak occurs," Tao said, noting that some State-owned companies may also pay for their employees to get vaccinated.
Some employees of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) preparing to go abroad were offered Sinopharm's inactivated vaccine for urgent use as early as June, the Global Times learned previously.
Chinese people can also get a vaccine for free if the vaccine is included in the national immunization program, which covers 14 injections against 15 diseases like polio and hepatitis B, according to Chinese health authorities.
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