Germans living in China began receiving the BioNTech vaccine on Thursday COVID-19, the first foreign coronavirus vaccine to be administered in a country that has not approved the use of non-Chinese vaccines, despite rising infections.
Under an agreement reached during a visit to Beijing by Chancellor Olaf Scholz in November, Germans over the age of 12 can receive their first dose or a booster of the BioNTech vaccine at a designated international hospital in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenyang, Guangzhou or Chengdu.
More than 8,000 doses of the BioNTech vaccine, developed with Pfizer, have been sent to China and more than 1,500 people have registered interest, the German Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.
About 14,000 German citizens live in China, according to the embassy.
German authorities are “trying to expand the offer to other nationalities as well,” according to their Foreign Ministry.
China has so far insisted on using only domestically produced vaccines, rejecting those made in the West that use more modern mRNA technology.
China, home to 1.4 billion people, abruptly abandoned its “zero COVID” policy last month and infections are rising in a population with low immunity after being protected since the virus appeared three years ago in the Chinese city of Wuhan.