China OKs 1st homegrown vaccine as COVID surges globally

BEIJING (AP) — China has approved its first homegrown COVID-19 vaccine for general use, marking the addition of another vaccine as the virus surges back around the world.

The two-dose vaccine from state-owned Sinopharm is the first approved in China.

The go-ahead comes shortly after the country launched a program to vaccinate 50 million people before the Lunar New Year holiday in February.

It also comes one day after British regulators authorized AstraZeneca’s inexpensive and easy-to-handle vaccine.

The back-to-back approvals could bring poorer countries one step closer to getting vaccines sooner.

Sinopharm says preliminary data from last-stage trials had shown the vaccine to be 79.3% effective.

Experts say data such as the size of the control group and how many were vaccinated is missing.

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