Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Sinopharm vaccine, 1st dose

Aww yeah, I got my first dose of the Chinese COVID-19 vaccine!

In China, there are 2 different vaccines being given to the general public- one developed by Sinopharm and one developed by Sinovac. Seems like some locations here are giving one and some locations are giving the other, and you get whatever you get. Both of them use the inactivated virus, and both of them require 2 doses.

In late March, Shanghai started encouraging the general public to get vaccinated. Here's what I wrote about it in my April 3 blogaround:

Good news- here in Shanghai, starting around March 29 there's been a big push for people to get the COVID vaccine. I saw a bunch of articles on social media (WeChat) about how to register, there was a flyer posted on the 1st floor of our apartment building, somebody came door-to-door with the flyers too, and HR at work sent an email. (There is a separate system for foreign passport holders to register, because the main system requires a Chinese ID number.) I have an appointment in a few weeks for the first dose! Woo I love vaccines!

They are saying everyone who is age 18 to 75 and healthy should get vaccinated. Right now everyone in that range can go ahead and make an appointment, it's not broken down into different risk categories or anything like in the US. (People who are higher risk because they come into contact with international travelers etc have already been vaccinated.)

Only some of the vaccine locations have been designated as accepting foreigners. I assume it's so they can make sure they have someone who speaks English there, and a place where you can pay for the vaccine if you're not on Chinese social insurance, and whatever other weird edge cases they might have to deal with to accommodate international people.

Ah, so about that Chinese social insurance: It's kind of like how in the US, you get money deducted from your salary to pay for social security and whatever else. If you are paying into the system (which I am), then you get benefits related to health care, maternity leave, unemployment insurance, pension, etc. (When I was on maternity leave I got paid 100% of my salary for the whole 4 months I was off work.) And, if you are in the system, you get your COVID vaccine for free. If you're not in the system, it's 100 rmb, which is about $15.

Oh, another fun fact: I am still breastfeeding my little toddler son. There was a lot of talk in the mom groups (on WeChat/ social media) about "should I get the vaccine if I am breastfeeding?" Some moms did, some moms didn't, some moms went to the vaccine site and were told they weren't allowed to get the vaccine because they were breastfeeding. The latest recommendation in China is that pregnant and breastfeeding people can totally get the vaccine, but this is the kind of thing China is super-cautious about (in my opinion, way too cautious), so sometimes the staff at the vaccine site still don't allow it. I am all about that natural immunity being passed on to the baby through the milk though. :)

Anywayyyyyyy I took pictures for you, blog readers, so here they are:

You have to show your green QR code (to prove that you haven't travelled to any medium-risk or high-risk places in the past 14 days), and this security guard is taking everyone's temperature.

新冠疫苗接种人员入口 = COVID-19 vaccination entrance

Taking temperature on the wrist

Yeah he's taking everyone's temperature, but like not very accurately.

(The above image is a sign that says: 疫苗接种 Vaccination 预检登记处 Pre inspection registry)

Then you have to go to the registration desk and show them your passport, then on to the next window where you fill out the consent form. It asks questions about if you are allergic to any vaccines, etc.

This is the page you have to sign to confirm that they gave you the consent form.

Turns out the vaccine site I went to is a vaccine clinic that normally sees children. They had very cute animals on the walls, and charts about what vaccines babies need to get. But that afternoon they had the place set up to only do the COVID vaccine.

After the vaccine, you have to sit in the "observation area" for 30 minutes in case you have a reaction. This is standard in China- every time I take my son for a vaccine, or if I have a flu shot, or whatever, have to wait around for 30 minutes.

The vaccine I got was the Sinopharm one. Here's an image I found online that shows what the box looked like:

Box for the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. Image source.

The box says:


SARS-CoV-2 Vaccine(Vero Cell), Inactivated

The small print at the bottom says the vaccine was made by CNBG/ Beijing Institute of Biological Products (China National Biotec Group, which is owned by Sinopharm).

After the vaccine, my arm was sore for about 1-2 days, but I didn't have any other side effects.

They said the next dose should be 3-8 weeks later. Really looking forward to being fully vaccinated!


Good news~ My Patreon account reached its goal of $20/month! I said I would publish posts about my life in China when that happened, so here is the first one! Many thanks to my Patreon supporters and to all my readers. <3

Next China post is here: Taking the Subway in Shanghai, China

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