As much as China may want to promote its domestically-produced Covid-19 vaccines, it has to face reality.
Last month, Beijing issued a new policy making it easier for foreigners to apply for a visa to China if they had received a Chinese vaccine — raising concerns among experts, who warned it risked setting a dangerous precedent which could leave the world separated into vaccine silos.
There was also a practical problem: in many countries, including the United States, it is impossible to get a Chinese vaccine because they have not been approved for use by regulators.
With about half of adults in the US having received at least one Covid-19 shot, many travelers eligible to enter China — either Chinese citizens or foreigners who managed to obtain a visa — were left unsure whether the vaccine they received would be deemed sufficient to travel to China.
China’s embassy in Washington finally provided some clarity in a recent statement, outlining what tests travelers to China who have received one of the US-approved vaccines — Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson — should get in order to be approved to enter the country.
With China largely back to business and infection rates low, it is likely many will soon attempt that process, particularly as the number of vaccinated continues to rise in the US.
China considers Pfizer data: Last month, China launched its own version of a vaccine passport, the International Travel Health Certificate (ITHC), to enable immunized people to travel more freely. The country is also moving in the direction of approving more vaccines, including foreign-made ones, which would make it easier for Chinese living overseas and foreigners hoping to travel to China to sign up to the ITHC.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese officials have been scrutinizing clinical-trial data for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which could be approved for domestic use before July.
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