China's Sinovac to double annual COVID-19 vaccine capacity to 1 billion doses

BEIJING (Reuters) – By February a unit of Sinovac Biotech could double its annual CoronaVac COVID-19 output ability to 1 billion doses.

Sinovac Biotech President Yin Weidong told a news conference that there are more than 7 million dosages of CoronaVac vaccine, one of three in China, supplied to regions like the City of Beijing and Guangdong provinces.

Although the first phase of the current Sinovac Life Sciences production line is capable of delivering 500 million CoronaVac doses in one year, another 500 million dose annually could be operational by February, Yin said.

On Tuesday, researchers in Brazil published new vaccine efficacy results with various effectiveness rates from testing sites in three countries.

Tests in various countries vary, but the CoronaVac doses studied were from the same sample, Yin said.

"These Phase III clinical trial results are sufficient to prove that CoronaVac vaccine's safety and effectiveness are good around the world," Yin said.

To date, China has received more than 10 million COVID-19 doses, Wang Bin, the National Health Commission official, told reporters.

Growing clinical trials and vaccine provision, the country will eventually incorporate people older than 60 in its vaccination program, now concentrated on people 18-59 years of age in target categories with a greater risk of infection, Wang added, without setting specific timescales.

(Roxanne Liu and Yew Lun Tian reports; David Goodman's editing and Louise Heavens reports)