Home / World / New year, new outbreak: China accelerates vaccination of 50 million people over the holidays | Global breakthrough

New year, new outbreak: China accelerates vaccination of 50 million people over the holidays | Global breakthrough

At a hospital in Shenzhen, Wang Shuyue, a 21-year-old airport worker, lined up to receive her second bullet.

“I feel safe because many people across the country are vaccinated, so there shouldn’t be any major problems,” she told The Guardian. “I think it should work, otherwise there won’t be people. Come get it this much “

It hopes to be one of the 50 million people that China aims to get vaccinated against COVID-1

9 in weeks in one of the world’s most ambitious vaccination drives.

Fighting the worst outbreak in 10 months, the country is moving forward with a goal of vaccinating about 3.5% of its population before the start of the February 11 lunar New Year holiday, which has hundreds of millions of people. All over the country come to visit families and celebrate.

China is committed to using its own vaccines to vaccinate its citizens and share them with the rest of the world, especially in developing countries. The drive sought to bolster or repair China’s reputation on the world stage after it was accused of concealing information and an early mistake in supplying protective equipment. Logistics advantages for China proposals But with significant transparency concerns about end-to-end clinical data and conflicting reports, health experts urged caution.

First announced in December, the vaccination drive involved more than 25,300 sites in 75 reported rural towns and villages, with the vaccine delivered in two doses approximately 21 days apart, free of charge. Reports from local Chinese media said clinics had received an emergency approved Sinovac vaccine. (For primary practitioners) or a conditionally approved Sinopharm vaccine (For a broader population) The reported scope and speed of the program has outpaced others, including the US’s Operation Warp Speed ​​and its UK launch.

According to one clinic the Guardian visited, vaccination records are integrated with local health code apps and allow recipients to skip quarantine when traveling between cities and regions.

The launch began with a group of key practitioners aged 18 to 59 under emergency approval, and then focused on those at risk before expanding to anyone over the age of 60. It aims to give all first doses of medication by the end of this week. The second dose, before the start of the celebration, health commissioner Wang Bin, said on Wednesday that 10 million doses were administered, including about 1.6 million, under the emergency regime before full approval. Pattern Health experts told state media last week that current rates are likely to reach just 20 million people by the deadline. But manufacturers are accelerating production.

The push comes as China has reported more than 100 consecutive new cases, the highest daily total since March. Most of the cases have been reported by the rural population of Hebei, a province surrounding Beijing. On Thursday, it was the first reported deaths from COVID in China in eight months. Three cities near Beijing have been shut down.

Logistics advantages – and setbacks

Calvin Ho, an associate professor of law at the University of Hong Kong focusing on bioethics, said 3.5% of the drive was not expected to build herd immunity – the health agency said their eventual goal was to It covers about 60-70% of vaccinations, but it will provide protection as people gather in the new year.

Ho said the Chinese launch has a logistical advantage compared to other countries.The locally made vaccines do not need to be frozen, making transportation and storage easier than Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. Used in countries such as the United States and the United Kingdom. China can also quickly expand production.

The vaccine drive began before the current Hebei outbreak. Some experts question whether immediate vaccination is needed because of the primary concern about vaccine transparency and efficacy.

China’s two main vaccines are manufactured using historically successful methods and are less vulnerable to inactive viruses to stimulate immune responses. But manufacturers and the agency have been accused of a lack of transparency by not disclosing data on Phase III trials from international clinical trials.

Brazilian researchers on Tuesday revealed that the Sinovac vaccine was much less effective than previously stated. Overall efficacy 50.38% pushed the vaccine 50% above the World Health Organization’s benchmark for approval, but 78% lower than announced last week and well below the efficacy rates of Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. It will raise concerns in 10 or more countries that have ordered or received hundreds of millions of doses.

Associate Professor James Trauer, Head of Epidemiological Modeling at Monash University School of Public Health, said in countries such as China, where epidemics are relatively rare, there is a significant risk of epidemiological modeling in countries such as China. (Due to the Wuhan epidemic), immunity to herd through vaccination is “critical”, however those circumstances mean it is not urgent.

“When you launch a major vaccination program, there was concern from a safety point of view that there might be a missed reaction. And it will be very difficult to judge from a performance point of view, since very little of the coronavirus is currently spread in China, ”Trauer said.

“They have the opportunity to find high quality information. [first]And they chose not to do so. It’s a bit of a concern. ”

HKU’s Ho said the risk of the early launch was low, “as we don’t know exactly what the actual epidemiological situation in China is… so precautionary measures should be taken if such a method allows.” He said

On Tuesday, the vaccine was seen at the Shenzhen Baoan Group of Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital, one of five official vaccination sites in southern China.

Sun, who teaches Chinese to foreigners, is one of the organizations hoping to get vaccinated before the lunar New Year holidays.

She said she was a little worried about the safety when the first shot. But there were no adverse reactions, so now it’s a second time. “I decided to get myself vaccinated for free,” she said.

In line with Sun, a man who declined to disclose his name said he traveled to work in China often as a precautionary measure.

“I encourage people who travel a lot, whether in or outside the country, to be vaccinated. But if you’re the kind of person who sits in the office every day, you can decide if it’s necessary. ”

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