About 200 million Chinese, or 14.29% of the population, have been vaccinated for COVID-19 so far, with an emphasis on frontline workers, university students and people living in border areas, he said health officer on Wednesday.
China is increasing vaccination efforts after a slow start, driven in part by the virtual elimination of domestic transmission. Only two local cases were reported on Wednesday, both in the city of Ruili, bordering Myanmar.
Center for Disease Control center Cui Gang told a news conference that key areas and members of the population are being prioritized for vaccines. China has approved five domestically produced vaccines and exported millions of doses, although some scientists believe they provide less protection than those from Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca.
The Chinese vaccines have an efficacy range of 50.7% to 79.3%, based on company data, lower than their foreign counterparts but still effective.
China is now giving millions of shots a day and the government’s chief physician, Zhong Nanshan, has announced a goal of vaccinating 560 million of the country’s 1.4 billion people by mid-June.
China locked up Wuhan city for more than two months starting in January 2020 after the first detection of the coronavirus in late 2019. Wuhan became known as the epicenter of the pandemic, although Beijing has suggested that the virus may have it had been circulating earlier and possibly brought it to China from abroad.
Since then, China has controlled the virus through strict border controls and fast locks whenever new outcrops are growing. Wearing masks inside remains almost global and health tracking applications must be displayed in most shops, offices and public buildings.
Although China was the first major economy to throw away the effects of the virus, the restrictions are considered to limit its further growth, especially as Beijing readies to welcome tens of thousands of visitors as host of the Winter Olympics in February 2022 .
Along with the large scale of the vaccination effort, authorities need to convince a population that it no longer feels threatened by infection.
“Currently, vaccination efforts in key areas and key population groups are generally progressing smoothly,” Cui told reporters at Wednesday’s briefing. Already, 80% of employees in the health sector have received the injection, Cui said.
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