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A Chinese firm which has developed an experimental coronavirus vaccine said around 90 per cent of their employees and families have taken the shot under the country’s emergency use programme.

The extent of inoculations under the emergency programme, which China launched in July but has released few details about, points to how actively it is using experimental vaccines in the hopes of protecting essential workers against a potential Covid-19 resurgence, even as trials are still underway.

The programme is intended for specific groups, including medical staffers and those who work at food markets and in the transportation and service sectors.

Sinovac Biotech Ltd, whose CoronaVac is in Phase 3 clinical trials and has been included in the emergency scheme, offered the candidate vaccine to approximately 2,000 to 3,000 employees and their families on a voluntary basis, CEO Yin Weidong told Reuters.

Mr Weidong said those who chose to be inoculated, including himself, his wife and parents, had been informed of the potential side effects prior to taking the shot.

He added that doctors asked about their health conditions before the vaccination, and the occurrence rate of adverse reaction among those vaccinated has been “very low”.

Side effects after taking CoronaVac include fatigue, fever and pain, with mostly mild symptoms, according to results of a mid-stage trial sponsored by Sinovac, involving 600 participants and published last month ahead of peer review.

Read more: Speed of coronavirus vaccine race ‘crazy’ and unsafe, scientists warn

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