Mainland China is expected to approve BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine in June, the representative group of American businesses in Shanghai has said.
Beijing authorities have yet to permit any foreign vaccines for mainland use. Consent for BioNTech might be granted before July, although the exact date was unclear, American Chamber of Commerce head Ker Gibbs told Bloomberg, citing a conversation with Shanghai Vice Mayor Zong Ming.
Shanghai party secretary Li Qiang met with Ugur Sahin, the chief executive and cofounder of German company BioNTech, via video link on Wednesday, the city’s official Twitter-like Weibo account showed.
Li said BioNTech was a leading firm in vaccine research, and that deepened cooperation with Chinese companies was welcomed for the health of the people. Biomedicine was a leading industry in Shanghai, Li said, adding that he hoped BioNTech would conduct innovative projects locally.
In the absence of foreign vaccines, China has administered up to 200 million doses of its homegrown products so far. Those approved for inoculation do not use the mRNA technology adopted by BioNTech.
An mRNA vaccine jointly developed by Chinese companies Walvax Biotechnology and Abogen Bio and the national army’s Academy of Military Medical Sciences has ended phase two trials and is expected to enter phase three in May.
Meanwhile, a South Korean national in her 40s living in Shanghai was found dead at home, three days after receiving a vaccine produced by Chinese company Sinopharm, Yonhap news agency reported, citing sources from the local Korean community and the consulate.
The woman was inoculated at Tongren Hospital on April 19, and had symptoms including nausea, Yonhap said. She had no preexisting conditions, it said. Many Koreans living in Shanghai had canceled vaccination plans.
Since March 29, foreigners in Shanghai who are of a suitable age have been able to get vaccinated of their own accord at 100 yuan (US$15.40) per dose. South Korean Consul General in Shanghai Kim Seung-ho received a Chinese-made vaccine at Huashan Hospital on April 9.
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