China administers over 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines
By Shen Shaotie, People’s Daily
China has administered over 200 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines so far, a health official told a press conference on April 21.
Authorities have taken into account the demand for the second dose in the allocation of vaccines to localities, said Mi Feng, deputy director of the publicity department of the country’s National Health Commission (NHC).
He urged local efforts in precise vaccine distribution and supply to ensure that people get their second dose within eight weeks following the first one.
At present, China is advancing its mass vaccination campaign with two priorities, said the press conference.
It is ensuring inoculation in key areas, including port cities, border regions, and medium- and large-sized cities with high risks of infection, as well as areas where cluster infections had happened.
Meanwhile, vaccines are giving to key groups in the country, such as employees in cold-chain businesses, health workers, staff members of government organizations, public institutions and enterprises, students and faculty of colleges and universities, service staff of large supermarkets, as well as those working in the transport, logistics and public service sectors.
“So far, the vaccination rate among health workers has exceeded 80 percent,” said Li Dachuan, another official with the NHC.
China launched its mass vaccination campaign on Dec.15,2020. On March 24 this year, it initiated a daily vaccination report, since which it has witnessed a daily increase of more than 3 million doses.
Outside the Donghua Gate of the Palace Museum in Beijing, a mobile vaccination vehicle is put into use, which offers vaccination services for not only local citizens, but also tourists from the rest of the country. Twenty-one days after the first dose is given, the vaccinated will receive a message reminder from the vaccinator, who will also call the tourists to finish the second shot in any neighborhood.
In Weishan County, east China’s Shandong Province, a mobile vaccination team has been established to administer doses to fishermen offshore. So far, the team has launched 70 operations, giving shots to over 15,000 lakeside residents.
Policies and measures have also been rolled out across China to facilitate the vaccination for foreigners. Since March 29, expatriates in Shanghai have been able to volunteer to get the COVID-19 vaccine simply by making an appointment online. Those who have joined Chinese social security enjoy the same treatment as Chinese citizens that have done the same. Those who don’t can get the vaccine at 100 yuan ($15.4) per dose.
South China’s Guangdong Province started administering COVID-19 vaccines to foreigners in the province on April 12 on a voluntary basis.
Early in the morning on the next day, 33-year-old Pakistani Shmel Mohamed got the vaccine at the province’s Zhuhai People’s Hospital. China has donated many vaccines to his country, and his families were also administered Chinese vaccines back home, he told People’s Daily.
At present, vaccine manufacturers are in full production mode to make the doses. Last month, the Beijing Biological Products Institute Co., Ltd. under the China National Biotec Group (CNBG), which is affiliated with Sinopharm, kicked off the construction of its third-phase production base. Besides, the CNBG is also expanding capacity at six of its institutes in Beijing,Wuhan, Changchun, Shanghai, Lanzhou and Chengdu. The first batch of the Gansu-made vaccines have officially rolled off production line on March 29, and those made in Changchun were also available on April 6. On April 1, a new plant producing COVID-19 vaccines of Sinovac Life Sciences Co., Ltd. was also put into use.