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China Rolls Out First Inhalable COVID Vaccine

China Rolls Out First Inhalable COVID Vaccine
A new type of COVID-19 vaccine that is administered via inhalation rather than injection was this week introduced in Shanghai, the commercial capital of China, in what is thought to be a first for the world.
In September, Chinese authorities gave their approval for CanSino Biologics' vaccine to be used as a booster.
The vaccine is now being administered to the first patients; it is taken by mouth from a container that resembles a take-out coffee cup and has a short mouthpiece.
"Our body’s first line of defence is the mucus membrane of our respiratory system, we want that to be directly stimulated to improve immunity and using the inhaled vaccine does that," Dr Zhao Hui, chief medical officer at Shanghai United Family Hospital Pudong, told Reuters.
The new vaccine, which will be used alongside standard injection shots, is being given by several hospitals, including his.
Erwin Loh, chief medical officer at St Vincents Health Australia, commented on what he claimed was a first application of the technology. He said the development of inhaled vaccines was significant not only because they have the potential to prevent infection but also because they may reduce vaccine hesitancy.
"There is a large proportion of people who are resistant to take the vaccine because they have a needle phobia. They may not articulate it, but that's what in their mind," he said.
For China, which continues to be a global outlier due to its adherence to its "zero-COVID" policy, which aims to eradicate community outbreaks of the virus, increasing vaccination uptake is essential.
There are still targeted lockdowns in place in Shanghai, which has reported 11 local asymptomatic cases and no new domestically transmitted symptomatic coronavirus cases as of October 27.

In announcing the inhalable vaccine rollout this week, the Shanghai government's WeChat account stated that 23 million of the city's 26 million residents had received their initial COVID vaccinations in full and that more than 12 million had received booster shots.
Over 90% of the population in China has received a vaccination, according to official data from the Chinese government.
The nation has relied on inactivated vaccines that are made domestically; no mRNA vaccines have been imported or introduced as of yet. An inactive shot is available as an aerosol with the inhable vaccine.
Loh is optimistic that the outcomes of Shanghai's experiment with inhaled vaccines will persuade other nations to do the same.
"I think inhaled vaccines for respiratory illness like COVID-19 will be the future," he said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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