China administers 400mn Covid-19 jabs in new milestone, vaccine chief confident shots can be repurposed for new variants

China has passed the notable milestone of delivering 400 million shots in the fight against Covid-19 – 100 million more than any other nation – as Beijing says it’s confident it can swiftly adjust for mutant variants.

On Monday, an update from China’s National Health Commission stated that 406.93 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine had been administered as of Sunday, up from 399.29 million the day before. 

The latest data show that China has now administered 100 million more shots than any other country, including the US, where the pace of inoculations appears to be slowing. 

The nation of 1.4 billion people still has a way to go, having only administered approximately 27 shots per 100 citizens. By comparison, the US has administered around 80 per 100. The majority of vaccines being deployed in the US and China require two doses.  

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On Friday, Shao Yiming, chief expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC), reassured people that Beijing would be able to quickly adjust and manufacture its vaccines to tackle new variants of Covid-19, including the strain which is increasingly prominent on the Indian subcontinent. 

“We are capable of updating the vaccine as long as the data and the research shows it’s necessary to do so,” Shao said, adding that they have been collecting data on the India variant.

The vaccine chief said the shots could be made more effective against emerging variants just by tweaking the components during production.

There has previously been concern about the effectiveness of Chinese-made vaccines, but a jab produced by China's state-owned drugmaker Sinopharm received approval for emergency use from the World Health Organization on May 8.

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