May 29, 2021 09:02 PM

China Reports ‘Very Low’ Rate of Severe Adverse Reaction to Vaccines

A resident receives a Covid-19 vaccine Thursday at a temporary vaccination center in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong province. Photo: Chen Chuhong/China News Service/VCG
A resident receives a Covid-19 vaccine Thursday at a temporary vaccination center in Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong province. Photo: Chen Chuhong/China News Service/VCG

More than 31,000 recipients of Covid-19 vaccines in China have experienced adverse reactions, China’s Center of Disease Prevention and Control (China CDC) said Friday, with a “very low” rate of severe reactions.

It was the first time the country released data on adverse reactions amid its ongoing mass vaccination campaign that started in January.

A total of 31,434 adverse reactions were reported between Dec. 15, 2020 and April 30 when the country administered 265 million vaccine doses, according to a statement (link in Chinese) issued by the China CDC. That means 11.86 cases of adverse reactions per 100,000 doses, the statement said.

Reactions are categorized into normal and abnormal adverse reactions, with the latter including severe adverse reactions.

There were more than 5,300 cases of “abnormal reactions,” accounting for 17% of the total adverse reactions, the statement said. The incidence of severe adverse reactions was 0.07 per 100,000 doses, the statement added.

“Both the rates of normal and abnormal reactions caused by China’s Covid-19 vaccines are lower than that of other vaccines reported in 2019,” the CDC said. “The rate of severe adverse reactions is very low.” However, it did not disclose details on how the incidences were evaluated.

Before the statement’s release, the country had disclosed partial data on adverse events caused by the Covid-19 vaccines. According to the Adverse Events Following Immunization (AEFI) surveillance system, China had observed 15,600 vaccine-related adverse events as of March 7. Among them, mild adverse events accounted for 70% of the total while the incidence of serious adverse events was less than 0.0001%.

Also in March, authorities in East China’s Zhejiang province, home to more than 57 million residents, said the rate of suspected adverse reactions in the province was around 5 per 10,000 doses while the incidence of severe side effects was only 2.2 per million doses. The province reported no deaths or severe disabilities linked to the vaccination.

Since earlier this month, some Chinese cities including the financial hub Shanghai have started administering a single-dose adenovirus vector vaccine which was co-developed by the Chinese military and Tianjin-based biotech company CanSino Biologics Inc. (6185.HK).

Chen Wei, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a lead researcher on the vaccine, said people who received the vaccine “have so far had no serious adverse reactions.”

Currently, China has approved five vaccines against Covid-19 for emergency or general use. Besides the CanSino’s vaccine, the other four include two inactivated vaccines developed by Sinopharm Group Co. Ltd., one inactivated vaccine developed by Sinovac Biotech Ltd. and one recombinant new coronavirus vaccine developed by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biologic Pharmacy Co. Ltd.

In total, more than 600 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines have been administered across China so far, according to the National Health Commission (link in Chinese).

Contact reporter Wang Xintong ( and editor Lu Zhenhua (

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