The head of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, Gao Fu, says he has been injected with an experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
He said he decided to be infected so as to persuade the public to do the same when the vaccine becomes available.
“I’m going to reveal something undercover: I am injected with one of the vaccines,” Gao Fu said in a webinar Sunday hosted by Alibaba Health, an arm of the Chinese e-commerce giant, and Cell Press, an American publisher of scientific journals. “I hope it will work.”
This is not the first time such an experimental vaccine has been injected on people. In March, a state-owned Chinese company injected employees with experimental shots long before the government approved such.
However, Gao did not say when or how he took the vaccine candidate. Gao said he took the injection to instil public confidence in vaccines, especially amid a tide of rising mistrust that has fueled conspiracy theories and attacks on scientists.
“Everybody has suspicions about the new coronavirus vaccine,” Gao said. “As a scientist, you’ve got to be brave. … If even we didn’t do it, how can we persuade the whole world — all the people, the public — to be vaccinated?”
China is competing with British and American firms to be the first with a vaccine to help end the pandemic.
China has positioned itself to be a strong contender. Eight of the nearly two dozen potential vaccines in various stages of human testing worldwide are from China, the most of any country.
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