What It Is like Taking the COVID-19 Vaccine in China

By That's, December 23, 2020

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With 2020 tainted as the ‘Year of COVID,’ next year is shaping up to be the ‘Year of the Vaccine.’ Among the leading vaccines developed around the world, China has four currently in limited use domestically. 

Over the summer, the Sinopharm and Beijing Institute vaccine was given emergency approval by the government to inject both of its vaccine candidates into government officials, health care workers and other select groups. New York Times reported that nearly a million people in China had received the Sinopharm vaccine by November. 

In early December, we reached out to a Chinese national previously based in South China who had taken the Sinopharm vaccine before leaving for a work assignment abroad. Below, the individual recounts his experience. (They requested that we don’t include their name or city in the article.)

“I received a notice from my company asking me if I would agree to take the vaccine in order to work abroad. On the paper, I had the option to turn down the vaccine, but a representative told me that if I wanted to work abroad then I would need to take it. So, I agreed and sent a copy back. 

“I flew up to Beijing and visited the company office prior to taking the vaccine. I noticed several other workers and lingdao (company leaders) were preparing to take the vaccine as well, including my project manager and assistant project manager. So clearly the vaccine isn’t only being used on low-level staffers, but really anyone preparing to go abroad.

“The venue for the vaccine was at Sinopharm, which is a biotech institute. I went up there in late September for the first shot. There was a huge line with people from different work backgrounds. Some work for state-owned companies, in addition to quite a few Chinese students who want to study abroad. 

“I waited in line for half an hour and went into a very small room to take the shot, which took about a minute. Right after taking the shot, a group of us had to wait in another room for half an hour in case any side effects occurred. (Medical personnel was on standby.) Everyone in the room appeared happy, elated to some degree.

“After 28 days, I went to take the second shot and it was the same procedure as the first time. I didn’t experience any side effects either time. The staff told me not to drink any alcohol or eat very spicy food for seven days after taking the shot as it may affect the effectiveness of the vaccine. After taking it, I now feel much safer on flights.”

[Cover image via Pixabay]

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