Chinese emergency on COVID-19 disappears in vaccine driver

Shirley Shi has received three offers of vaccination against COVID-19 – through her city, her Beijing residential area and her office area – but the human resources manager is in no hurry. .

“I’d like to check out for any ill effects first,” said Shi, who seems like a lot of Chinese are happy to wait and see.

Through aggressive lockouts and mass testing of millions, China has successfully controlled the virus that emerged on its soil at the end of 2019.

But vaccinating the most populous country in the world is a different story.

China is still working to increase the four home-made vaccines and has yet to approve any images taken abroad in a global race for bragging rights.

For Shi, the problem is not accessibility, but a lack of urgency.

“With China’s control of epilepsy at home and my lack of plans to go abroad in the short term, it is no longer needed,” she said.

Chinese experts have pointed out that the vaccination rate could soon accelerate.

Zhong Nanshan, a pulmonologist expert and a leading nationalist in the fight against COVID-19, recently said that China plans to vaccinate 40% of its 1.4 billion people by June.

That would require a huge increase in the number of photographs taken in China, where only about 3.5% of the population is currently circulated.

That lags far behind the UK’s 32.99 beats per 100 people and a figure of 25.42 for the US, according to Our World in Data, a collaboration between Oxford University and a charity.

“The crisis in the West, where vaccination is not lower than expected, is not present in China,” said Mathieu Duchatel, director of the Asia Program at Institut Montaigne, a think tank based in Paris.

The slowest pace could pose threats to China by delaying herd immunity.

There is no universally accepted standard for the percentage of the population that needs to be vaccinated – or to develop the necessary antibodies through disease – for herd immunity to COVID-19 to begin with. .

A November paper in Lancet medical journal estimated that figure ranged from 60% to 72% for a 100% effective vaccine, while Gao Fu, head of a Chinese disease control group, put it at 70 to 80% for China. these comments a week.

China had to provide 10 million doses daily for seven months to reach these thresholds, Chinese infectious disease expert Zhang Wenhong said on a forum recently. Only about 52.5 million doses were given at the end of February, according to Zhong.

The current pace is a “major concern,” Zhang said.

In addition to accelerating production, China has also pledged to export vaccines as they work to spread foreign criticism about the spread of the virus offshore.

Chinese companies are expected to export nearly 400 million doses, state media have reported, and the government said it is providing free vaccines to 53 countries.

China is caught between “both meeting the vaccine requirement for herd protection… and the demand associated with vaccine diplomacy,” said Yanzhong Huang, a global health man at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations.

Huang said a delay in herd protection could mean China is finally falling behind in reopening its borders – now virtually closed to all but Chinese citizens – while ‘ as other economies build up.

This could “make China look bad,” he said.

In China, uptake of the vaccine could be slow with trust issues in a country with a history of drug safety scandals.

Market research firm Ipsos in January found that 85% of adults in China said they were willing to get jabbed, but it was unclear how quickly they would do so.

At one clinic in Beijing, a doctor said all staff were offered insights, but many were disappointed that more data on vaccine efficacy was available.

Chinese representatives have not yet released detailed data, unlike their foreign competitors.

Chinese vaccinations began last year with major groups such as medical workers and state workers going overseas. This has been extended to other citizens, although it is largely in the larger cities.

With its resources and the ability to maneuver for a major effort, China may be able to catch up on vaccine levels once supplies rise.

Zhang Yutong, a dental clinic employee, was among a steady stream of people rushing into one clinic in Beijing after her employer prepared for jabs.

She said nearly two-thirds of her colleagues had also accepted the offer.

“Epilepsy has become a regular part of life. It’s best to have antibodies, ”she said.

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