Zeng Yixin, director of the vaccine R&D working group under the State Council's inter-agency task force and vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC)
Mao Junfeng, head of the Consumer Products Industry Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology
Jiao Yahui, inspector of the Bureau of Medical Administration of the NHC
Cui Gang, head of the Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control of the NHC
Zheng Zhongwei, a leader of the vaccine R&D working group under the State Council’s inter-agency task force and director of the Development Center for Medical Science and Technology of the NHC
Wang Huaqing, chief expert of the National Immunization Program of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Hu Kaihong, head of the Press Bureau of the State Council Information Office (SCIO) and spokesperson for the SCIO
Dec. 19, 2020
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the State Council's inter-agency task force press conference. We have invited Zeng Yixin, director of the vaccine R&D working group under the State Council's inter-agency task force and vice minister of the National Health Commission (NHC); Mao Junfeng, head of the Consumer Products Industry Department of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology; Jiao Yahui, inspector of the Bureau of Medical Administration of the NHC; Cui Gang, head of the Bureau of Disease Prevention and Control of the NHC; Zheng Zhongwei, a leader of the vaccine R&D working group under the State Council's inter-agency task force and director of the Development Center for Medical Science and Technology of the NHC, and; Wang Huaqing, chief expert of the National Immunization Program of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. They will explain issues relating to the COVID-19 vaccination among key groups of the population and answer your questions. Now, I will give the floor to Mr. Zeng Yixin.
Good morning, friends from the media. Thank you for your continued interest regarding the R&D and use of COVID-19 vaccines in China. As you know, a safe and effective vaccine is the most powerful technological means to prevent the spread of a virus. Vaccination has played an essential role in keeping many infectious diseases under control in our country, such as smallpox, measles, polio, and hepatitis B.
Therefore, the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the State Council attach great importance to the R&D of COVID-19 vaccines. General Secretary Xi Jinping has given important instructions at every crucial juncture regarding the R&D and use of COVID-19 vaccines. Relevant government departments, vaccine companies, scientific research institutes, medical institutions, disease control centers, and testing agencies have made concerted and all-out efforts to tackle the virus, upholding the belief that "nothing is more precious than people's lives."
Thanks to China's institutional advantages and innovative working approaches, we have coordinated efforts and achieved synchronized progress on various fronts. We have arranged five technical routes in parallel for the research and development of COVID-19 vaccines. On April 2, China approved the first vaccine candidate for phase I and phase II clinical trials; in June, the emergency use of three vaccines was approved; and since July, several vaccines have been undergoing phase III clinical trials in some foreign countries. Overall, we have made smooth progress in our work.
Currently, the general COVID-19 situation in China is stable, but we still face huge pressure to prevent inbound cases and domestic resurgence. To control inbound cases, we need to prevent not only domestic outbreaks caused by infected travelers but also virus transmission through logistic channels. Some of the recent sporadic cases, as you may have noticed, were related to cold-chain imports.
The weather will get colder during the winter-spring period and we will face more daunting challenges in epidemic prevention and control. In light of this, summarizing experience in the emergency use of vaccines and inoculating some key groups is of great significance to epidemic prevention and control.
These key groups include people working in cold-chain logistics, port inspection and quarantine, medical treatment and disease control, agricultural and seafood markets, as well as public transport, etc. Because of their occupations, these groups are considered at higher risk of infection than others. Prioritizing the protection of these groups will also help prevent inbound cases and a domestic resurgence, thus contributing to our overall epidemic prevention and control work.
I would like to emphasize that COVID-19 vaccination for these priority groups is just the first step of a two-step vaccination drive. In the next step, vaccines will receive conditional marketing authorization or official approval for market launch and their production capacity will increase. This should allow for nationwide inoculation, first vaccinating high-risk groups, namely hundreds of millions of elder people and those with underlying medical conditions, and subsequently people considered lower-risk. We aim to build up herd immunity through vaccination and to more effectively prevent the spread of the virus as quickly as possible.
To ensure that inoculations in the first step go smoothly, the State Council's inter-agency task force has issued a circular to member departments and local authorities of all provinces, municipalities, autonomous regions, and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps. The notice states that they are required to guarantee the quality of vaccines and every batch must undergo stringent inspection; cold-chain transport channels must be safe and efficient, and delivery must be fast and precise; vaccination plans must be carefully formulated, designating vaccination sites in a reasonable way, and; inoculation work must be organized in a prudent and orderly manner. Special emphasis should be put on providing medical care during vaccinations, and promptly handle, monitor, and report any adverse reactions following vaccination. Additionally, they must promote understanding about the vaccination given that COVID-19 vaccines are public goods, so we should enable the people to exercise informed consent. At the same time, we also need to strengthen their sense of responsibility, to ensure that all high-risk groups in need are vaccinated, and all eligible citizens are inoculated in a timely manner.
Thank you, that is my introduction.
Thank you, Mr. Zeng, for your introduction. Now, let's open the floor for questions.