Students in the national capital Monday became the first large group of people worldwide to receive an H1N1 flu vaccination, sources with the municipality confirmed.
More than 100,000 people from universities, middle schools and primary schools in Beijing who will participate in the National Day Parade will get their jabs through Thursday.
Previously, only small test groups in China had received the vaccine.
As of yesterday afternoon, the H1N1 virus had infected 13,262 people on the mainland, said Ma Yanming, a spokesman with the Beijing Municipal Health Bureau.
The inoculation of students who will take part in the Oct 1 parade is the first phase of injections that will be administered nationwide.
"The vaccination is free, and based on free will," Ma told China Daily.
Ma would not say whether the vaccinations covered the military participants in the parade.
Some 49 medical teams, comprising 500 health workers from key hospitals in the capital, were administering the injections at Beijing schools and universities, he said.
Xia Yunhan, 20, a sophomore from Beijing Xinyuanming Vocational College, told China Daily she felt fine, except for a pain in the arm, after getting a PANFLU.1 jab.
Her medication was made by Sinovac Biotech Ltd, one of 10 designated H1N1 vaccine producers in the country.
The Ministry of Health warned this month that the H1N1 virus could infect tens of millions of people in China during the fall and winter.
So far, the government has prepared antiviral drugs for 10 million people.
Vivian Tan, press officer with the World Health Organization's Beijing office, urged the authorities to monitor the mass vaccination for unusual or adverse side effects.
Margaret Chan, director general of the WHO, said yesterday production of the H1N1 vaccine was on track and she said 3 billion doses a year would be an ideal target.
Chan said many countries and regions were producing vaccines but she confirmed that China was the first to have a vaccine ready for use.
Wang Ying, who heads the hospital at the University of International Business and Economics, said staff there were set to administer the vaccine.
"All of our 1,600 students and faculty members who will participate in the celebration will be vaccinated," Wang said. "It's on a voluntary basis but, so far, we've not had any students not wanting to get vaccinated."
Wang said the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention will assign experts to each vaccination site to monitor the situation for at least 72 hours after inoculations have been given, looking for adverse reactions.
Nationwide, China expects to vaccinate 5 percent of the population by the end of the year, said Health Minister Chen Zhu.