Coronavirus | China steps up vaccinations to 14 million a day

Syringes of the Sinovac vaccine for COVID-19. File   | Photo Credit: AP

China’s health authority said the country had administered more than 400 million doses of vaccines as of Sunday amid a renewed push to guard against the resurgence of COVID-19 cases after the reporting of several local clusters in recent days.

A record 14 million doses were administered on a single day on Sunday, the National Health Commission said. This follows a stepped up vaccination campaign that saw the last 100 million doses administered in just nine days, down from 17 days for doses to rise from 200 million to 300 million and 26 days from 100 million to 200 million.

China’s vaccination campaign was slow to take off, attributed by experts to a combination of hesitancy and a broader lack of urgency because of the low number of COVID-19 cases in China, which has managed to suppress outbreaks since last summer after months-long lockdown and continued restrictions on international travel that remain in place.

Officials sacked

Five cases were reported on Monday, including three in northeastern Liaoning and two in Anhui province, which reported 14 cases earlier. The Anhui cases prompted a rush for vaccines in the province, with images on Chinese social media showing long queues braving heavy rains. Five officials from the two provinces were sacked after the emergence of cases, believed to be tied to a port city, the South China Morning Post reported on Monday.

Estimates for the efficacy rates of China’s vaccines have ranged between 60% and 80% in phase three trials conducted in several countries, but the vaccines have been found to prevent severe cases of COVID-19.

The newspaper reported Chinese authorities had approved a sixth vaccine for emergency use last week as it continues a stepped up campaign with plans to inoculate half the population by the middle of the year.

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Printable version | Jun 21, 2021 10:18:30 PM |

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