An interview with China's National Health Commission said that Chinese workers who belong to occupations considered to be at a "high risk" of contracting the coronavirus disease are being given an experimental vaccine by its government since July.

According to a Saturday interview, Zheng Zhongwei, director of the Science and Technology Development Center of the National Health Commission (NHC), said that medical professionals and front line workers such as nurses, hospital staff, and epidemic prevention personnel as well as customs inspectors and border agents qualified to receive the said vaccine as the nature of their work environments had a high risk of exposure to the virus. 

The said interview was done by a Chinese broadcaster from the CCTV-2 program "Dialogue" who helped clarify that the said vaccine had been approved for use on July 22. 

Reportedly, the developer of this experimental vaccine was Sinopharm's China National Biotec Group Company Limited (CNBG), formerly known to be the Central Epidemic Prevention Department of Beiyang Government. Zheng added that Phase 3 clinical trials have been done on thousands of people from countries such as the UAE, Peru, Morocco, and Argentina.

The said vaccine followed the provisions of Article 20 of China's vaccine law which said that the NHC is responsible of submitting an application for the emergency use of vaccines. It also mandates the country's Food and Drug Administration to assess and agree with the said application seeing to it that certain scales and time periods are specified.

Zheng detailed that the implementation stage which will follow the Phase 3 clinical trials of the vaccine could help stem future outbreaks in the country and could also help the country "establish an immunity barrier."

Heading the vaccine research and development team of the Joint Prevention and Control Mechanism of the State Council, Zheng said that building the said immunity barrier for workers involved in essential operations in the city would eliminate avoidable risks and guarantee the city's stable operations. 

In a June proceeding, the Chinese government has also approved a different vaccine candidate developed by Cansino Biologics and Beijing Institute of Biotechnology - although it was limited only to its military workers. 

Chinese epidemic Barricades block an entrance to the Xinfadi wholesale market in Beijing on August 5, 2020. Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images