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The head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Sunday that he had taken a shot of a trial coronavirus vaccine.
Gao Fu did not say which vaccine he was inoculated with, but said he did it to demonstrate that people need not fear vaccines.
"As a scientist, you've got to be brave ... If even we didn't do it, how can we persuade the whole world — all the people, the public — to be vaccinated?" he said, according to The Associated Press.
A handful of vaccines are now in the the final stage of clinical trials around the world, after which they can be approved for use.
Trial vaccines from Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer are leading the charge and well into the final stages of human trials.
The head of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says he has been injected with an experimental coronavirus vaccine.
"I'm going to reveal something undercover. I am injected with one of the vaccines," Gao Fu said Sunday during a webinar hosted by Alibaba Health, according to The Associated Press (AP).
Around 150 vaccines are under development worldwide, but only a handful have progressed to phase 3 trials, or the last stage of clinical tests before a vaccine is approved and given to the public.
Drugs giants Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Pfizer are leading the way, with an approved vaccine generally expected to reach the public by the fall.
AP Photo/Hans Pennink
Gao did not say which vaccine he had taken, saying he did not want to be accused of "doing some kind of propaganda" for a particular company, the AP reported.
Gao said the purpose of his inoculation is to assure people that vaccines are safe, and necessary. Experts around the world fear that the anti-vaxxer movement will be a significant barrier to a mass rollout of a vaccine.
"Everybody has suspicions about the new coronavirus vaccine," Gao said, according to the AP.
But he added: "As a scientist, you've got to be brave ... If even we didn't do it, how can we persuade the whole world — all the people, the public — to be vaccinated?"
A number of debunked conspiracy theories have sprung up around the developmental vaccines, including one accusing Bill Gates of trying to hide tiny microchips in vaccine vials to spy on people.
In his Sunday remarks, Gao also said that the need for US-China cooperation in scientific matters was essential.
"We don't want to have China and the US separated scientifically," Gao said, according to the AP. "We've got to work together."
The pandemic, which was first recorded in Wuhan last December, has contributed substantially to the deterioration of US-China relations.
President Donald Trump, and senior members of his administration, have accused China of withholding information about the virus at the early stage of the outbreak, and even outright blamed China for causing it.
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