China rolls out inhalable coronavirus vaccine, offers it for free as booster dose: Report
There is good news for those who are afraid of needles. China had been working on coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines that can be inhaled through the mouth. The news agency The Associated Press reported that in what appears to be a world's first, the Chinese city of Shanghai started administering an inhalable Covid vaccine on Wednesday (October 26).
As per an announcement on an official city social media account, the oral vaccine is being offered for free as a booster dose. It is available for those who are previously vaccinated.
The report by AP mentioned a video that showed how a community health centre was putting a short nozzle of a translucent white cup into the mouths of people. The video was posted by an online Chinese state media outlet.
The text with the video explained that after slowly inhaling the content, people hold their breath for five seconds and let the entire process complete in 20 seconds.
As quoted by the report, one Shanghai resident said in the video, "It was like drinking a cup of milk tea. When I breathed it in, it tasted a bit sweet."
In China, the inhalable vaccine was developed by the biopharmaceutical company CanSino Biologics Inc. It is an aerosol version of the company’s one-shot adenovirus vaccine. Notably, the effectiveness of this oral vaccine has not been fully explored.
Not just China, India has also approved a nasal vaccine, but it has not been rolled out yet. The vaccine is given through the nose. It is developed in the United States and has been licensed to Indian vaccine maker Bharat Biotech. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), around a dozen nasal vaccines are being tested worldwide.
When countries across the world are gradually opening after months-long lockdowns due to the deadly Covid pandemic, China is still struggling with a surge in cases. Covid wreaked havoc worldwide after it was first reported by China in late 2019.
China's zero-Covid policy, which includes strict measures and quarantine policies, has had several negative impacts on the economy. But despite that, the nation's economy showed a substantial resurgence in the third quarter. The report said that employment was generally stable despite the economy still facing obstacles, including Covid.