December 30 saw the approval of China’s first COVID-19 vaccine for public use.
The vaccine, produced by Chinese pharmaceutical giant Sinopharm, will first be available to nine priority groups before the Spring Festival in early February, reports China Daily. These groups include:
1. Those considered ‘high-risk’
2. Employees of cold-chain logistics sites
3. Border and customs inspectors
4. Medical workers
5. The elderly
6. Those with pre-existing medical conditions
7. Government employees
8. Community workers
9. People with plans to travel abroad
“Individuals who will travel abroad for work and personal reasons” are included in the priority groups, according to China Daily. However, what constitutes a ‘personal reason’ is a little unclear. In theory, this could cover anything from visiting your sick grandmother to taking a short vacation in Thailand.
A representative from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention told That’s it is possible to get the vaccine in order to travel abroad.
However, this requires an official company letter (including company chop) stating your reason for traveling abroad, a document from your local neighborhood watch (居委会) as well as your Chinese ID card (for Chinese citizens) or passport with your valid residence permit.
The requirement of a company letter implies that ‘personal reasons’ are currently off the cards. To complicate things further, we also contacted neighborhood watch organizations in Beijing and Tianjin who said they could not currently provide the required documentation.
While many things involving the vaccine remain uncertain at this early stage, it’s unlikely that individuals will be getting vaccinated to travel abroad anytime soon.
Watch this space
At a December 31 press conference, it was announced that the vaccine would be free to the public. The roll-out of vaccinations for those beyond the nine priority groups will likely be announced in the near future.
[Cover image via China Daily]