Shanghai, China, on Wednesday became the first location in the world to begin administering an inhalable version of the COVID-19 vaccine, The Associated Press reported.
The vaccine is given in the form of a mist sucked into the mouth. It is available to residents of Shanghai free of charge, though it is currently only being given as a booster to those who have previously been vaccinated, according to a statement from Shanghai city officials obtained by AP.
Chinese officials posted a video on social media appearing to show the process behind the oral vaccination, including what appeared to be people inhaling the contents of a translucent cup into their mouths. Chinese text overlaid by the video, translated by AP, reportedly said the entire process took around 20 seconds.
The new oral version is part of a push by Chinese officials to try and make "needle-free" vaccinations more widely available to the public. It comes as the country is still under a series of stringent COVID-19 regulations as part of Chinese President Xi Jinping's "zero-COVID" policy. While the strict lockdowns continue to be out of line with the rest of the world, China is among the globe's most inoculated nations, with 90 percent of eligible citizens fully vaccinated.
China remains the only country where this inhalable vaccine is currently available, but AP said that Malaysia would soon be undergoing clinical trials to determine its efficacy, with the potential for other nations to follow.