China approves first coronavirus vaccine

China approved a coronavirus vaccine for use Thursday, marking the first time a shot has been greenlighted in the country for general public use.

According to an article from state media that was posted on the websites for the National Health Commission and National Medical Products Administration, China gave conditional approval to a vaccine developed by state-backed pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm.

Clinical studies have shown the vaccine has an over 79 percent efficacy rate. The approval makes China the latest in a spree of countries to greenlight an array of shots as the world braces for an expected spike in cases over the winter months. 


Zeng Yixin, vice-minister in charge of the National Health Commission, said that millions of doses are being prioritized for medical workers and those going abroad for their jobs.

The shot from Sinopharm has been authorized for emergency use in China since earlier this year, as have a number of other shots.

The approval of the vaccine marks a significant milestone for China, which was the first nation to be hit with the pandemic.

The coronavirus is believed to have originated in Wuhan at a wet market. While the country grappled with a serious outbreak in the early months of 2020, it has now tallied fewer confirmed cases than many smaller countries across the globe. China has tallied nearly 96,000 confirmed cases, and over 4,700 people there have died.