China triples output of COVID-19 vaccines from early February: Xinhua

China triples output of COVID-19 vaccines from early February: Xinhua
FILE PHOTO: A worker performs a quality check in the packaging facility of Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech, developing an experimental coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccine, during a government-organized media tour in Beijing, China, September 24, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s daily output of COVID-19 vaccines has reached about 5 million doses, more than tripling the 1.5 million-dose daily production rate on Feb. 1, official media said on Wednesday.

China has supplied more than 100 million doses domestically, the Xinhua news agency said on its social media page, citing Xiao Yaqing, the minister of industry and information technology.

A total of 80.46 million vaccine doses were given by Monday, Xinhua said. That compares with 74.96 million administered as of the end of Saturday, indicating a significant acceleration of the vaccination drive.

Reuters calculations based on official data found that an average of 2.8 million doses were given between March 21 and March 22, up from about 1.7 million doses a day on average between March 15 and March 20.

Feng Zijian, deputy director of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Monday he expected a substantial increase in the number of daily COVID-19 vaccinations from April onwards.

China aims to vaccinate 40% of its 1.4 billion people by the middle of the year, according to state media and a top health adviser.

China was among the first countries to begin administering vaccines last year and has been exporting millions of doses, but its vaccination rate has fallen behind those of countries such as Israel and the United States.

Chinese vaccine maker Sinovac Biotech said on Monday it had supplied 160 million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine to 18 countries and regions, including China, with more than 70 million doses already administered globally.

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