Almost a million people have been given an experimental coronavirus vaccine developed by Sinopharm as part of an emergency-use program authorized by Beijing, the Chinese pharmaceutical giant's chairman said.
No serious adverse effects have been reported from vaccine recipients so far, Sinopharm said Wednesday in an article on social media platform WeChat, citing Chairman Liu Jingzhen.
"In emergency use, we now have used it on nearly a million people. We have not received any reports of serious adverse reaction, and only a few have some mild symptoms," Liu said.
Liu said the vaccine had been given to Chinese construction workers, diplomats, and students who have gone to more than 150 countries around the world during the pandemic -- and none of them has reported an infection.
He said on November 6 that there were 56,000 people who had received emergency vaccinations and then gone overseas.
"For example, a transnational company has 99 employees in one of its overseas offices, of whom 81 were vaccinated. And later, an outbreak broke out in the office, 10 of the 18 people who were not vaccinated were infected and none of those vaccinated were infected," he said.
He said that separately, Sinopharm had carried out Phase 3 clinical trials involving almost 60,000 people in 10 countries -- including the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Peru, and Argentina. CNN has not seen the results of these trials yet.
Sinopharm has two vaccine candidates. It's unclear which vaccine Liu referred to.
Beijing has granted approval to companies for urgent vaccinations using experimental drugs for months. In June, Chinese company CanSino Biologics announced it had been given special authorization to administer its experimental vaccine to the People's Liberation Army.
Since July, Chinese drug makers have been administering experimental vaccines to people working in "high-risk" professions under the emergency use program, which allows vaccine candidates to be used on a limited scale before their safety and efficacy have been fully proven by clinical trials.
Experimental coronavirus vaccines have even been reportedly offered to the public in parts of China, causing some citizens to rush across the country to get their hands on a dose.
It comes after Pfizer announced the results of its Phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trials on Wednesday, which it said was 95% effective in preventing infections -- even in older adults -- and caused no serious safety concerns. A day earlier, Moderna announced that its coronavirus vaccine was 94.5% effective.
Pfizer is expected to seek US Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization for its vaccine Friday.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines had shown extraordinary efficacy.
"That is extraordinary," Fauci said. "That is almost to the level of what we see with measles (vaccine), which is 98% effective."