For more than a week, an average of about 20 million people have been vaccinated against COVID-19 every day in China. At this rate, the nation would have fully vaccinated the entire UK population in little more than six days. China now accounts for more than half of the 35 million or so people around the world receiving a COVID-19 shot each day.
Zoltán Kis, a chemical engineer in the Future Vaccine Manufacturing Research Hub at Imperial College London, doesn’t know of “anything even close to those production scales” for a vaccine. “The manufacturing efforts required in China to reach this high production throughput are tremendous,” he says.
The majority of doses are of one of two vaccines, both of which have been approved for emergency use worldwide by the World Health Organization (WHO). CoronaVac — produced by Beijing-based company Sinovac — showed an efficacy of 51% against symptoms of COVID-19 in clinical trials, and much higher protection against severe disease and death. The second jab was developed in Beijing by state-owned firm Sinopharm and has demonstrated an efficacy of 79% against symptomatic disease and hospitalization.