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Pace of vaccination drives quickens

China Daily | Updated: 2021-01-20 10:36
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A medical worker displays China's Sinovac COVID-19 vaccine before the vaccination at a hospital in Baku, Azerbaijan, Jan 18, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

The pace of inoculations with China-developed COVID-19 vaccines is picking up around the world, with Azerbaijan on Monday becoming the latest country to begin mass vaccinations.

Azerbaijan's senior health officials were the first in the Central Asian country to get shots of a vaccine from Chinese biopharmaceutical company Sinovac Biotech, state-run news agency AZERTAC reported.

The day before, Brazil authorized the Sinovac vaccine, known as CoronaVac, as well as a second inoculation from Oxford University and AstraZeneca.

In Azerbaijan, Health Minister Ogtay Shiraliyev and his deputies, as well as other health officials, were among the first to be vaccinated with what Shahmar Movsumov, an assistant to the Azerbaijani president, earlier described as "the most safe and effective vaccine" procured by Azerbaijan.

Specialists decided that "the best vaccine for Azerbaijan is the vaccine of the Sinovac company" as it has passed clinical tests in many countries, said Shiraliyev, when addressing reporters after his inoculation in Baku.

Azerbaijan purchased 4 million doses of CoronaVac, the first batch of which was recently delivered.

In Brazil, the country with the second-highest COVID-19 death toll, 54-year-old nurse Monica Calazans, of Sao Paulo, was given the China-developed jab minutes after Brazil's federal drug regulator Anvisa gave the treatment the green light.

The Butantan Institute, a biological research center in Sao Paulo, has been manufacturing CoronaVac on Brazilian soil in partnership with Sinovac, according to media reports. The first wave of vaccinations is expected to involve around 6 million doses of CoronaVac.

Indonesia and Turkey authorized the use of CoronaVac this month. Turkish health workers got the first jabs of the vaccine last Thursday as the nation of 83 million people started mass vaccinations with it.

Some 790,000 health professionals across the country had received the vaccine as of Monday, according to the Turkish Health Ministry.

The vaccination drive has been hailed by doctors as providing hope for all Turks.

"This is hope for everyone. We experienced difficult times in our struggle against this disease but now we have an effective tool to fight against COVID-19," said Cinar Gule, a virologist at Ankara University Hospital.

"I hope that we will be able to reach higher numbers of vaccinations and that our people will be safely inoculated so that we can return to normal as soon as possible."

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