Beijing, October 21: Residents of Shaoxing city in China's Zhejiang province can voluntarily take shots of a COVID-19 vaccine that is still under the final phase of trials. The dose of experimental vaccine would be provided at a cost 400 yuan, or roughly $60. The vaccination drive would be the first in the world where a non-priority population would be administered with the vaccine doses. COVID-19 Vaccine in India: 30 Million, Including Frontline Health Workers, to be Vaccinated in First Phase.

The move is expected to draw criticism as drugmakers and medicine regulators have warned against mass vaccination before the safety decks are cleared. The health commission of Shaoxing city did not respond to requests by the international media seeking details of the vaccine candidate whose doses would be administered on the locals.

The Chinese media reports confirmed that the vaccination drive would be voluntary, and those residents who do not want to be administered with the doses would not be forced to undergo the vaccination.

The vaccine shots would not be given to children below 18 years of age, or senior citizens above 60. Only those in the age group of 18-59 would be allowed to be inoculated.

Nearly a dozen vaccine candidates are under the trial phase in China. The most promising among them, SinoVac, being developed Sinopharm Group, is in the late stage of human trials and could be officially rolled out by year-end or early 2021.

China, which was the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak, has largely overcome the effects of pandemic. The lockdown ceases to exist, and fatalities are no longer being recorded. The country has reported over 85,000 cases and 4,643 deaths -- way lower than the number of casualties recorded in other parts of the world.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Oct 21, 2020 04:03 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website