China Readies to Launch Mass Vaccination Campaign

Plans to inoculate students, pregnant women,  China’s police, health care and other key workers

With two new swine flu vaccines approved for use and five million doses scheduled for delivery this month, China is set to become the first country to begin a mass vaccination campaign against the H1N1 pandemic. But officials with the World Health Organization say that there are some concerns about potential side effects.

Sinovac Biotech wasted little time in testing and gaining official approval of its new swine flu vaccine. Now some of the 200,000 people expected to show up in Beijing beginning October 1 for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the country’s communist government will be first in line for the jab. After that the country plans top inoculate students, pregnant women, healthcare workers and China’s police and other key workers.

China has to be selective. Going all out it can expect to inoculate 65 million people by the end of the year – only a fraction of the country’s population of 1.3 billion. Health officials the world over will be watching China’s experience closely. If the Chinese begin to report side effects, it could have a big impact on how people in the rest of the world view these new vaccines. There’s considerable built-in resistance to noval vaccines, particularly among health workers.

Shares of Sinovac Biotech (NYSE: SVA) are higher on reports from Reuters, China approved the company for H1N1 vaccine production and the company raised their sales guidance. The stock is up 19%.

CEO Yin Weidong said, “At the beginning of this year, we forecast our sales would rise by 20 percent. H1N1 has given us an opportunity, so the rise should be more than 20 percent.”

Sinovac says patients needs only one 15 microgram dose of the vaccine to be effective. Novartis (NYSE: NVS) also said its vaccine gave a strong immune response after one dose in a pilot trial.

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Author: H. Sandra Chevalier-Batik

I started the Inconvenient Woman Blog in 2007, and am the product of a long line of inconvenient women. The matriarchal line is French-Canadian, Roman Catholic, with a very feisty Irish great-grandmother thrown in for sheer bloody mindedness. I am a research analyst and author who has made her living studying technical data, and developing articles, training materials, books and web content. Tracking through statistical data, and oblique cross-references to find the relevant connections that identifies a problem, or explains a path of action, is my passion. I love clearly delineating the magic questions of knowledge: Who, What, Why, When, Where and for How Much, Paid to Whom. My life lessons: listen carefully, question with boldness, and personally verify the answers. I look at America through the appreciative eyes of an immigrant, and an amateur historian; the popular and political culture is a ceaseless fascination. I have no impressive initials after my name. I’m merely an observer and a chronicler, an inconvenient woman who asks questions, and sometimes encourages others to look at things differently.