Zhang Wenhong promotes COVID-19 vaccination, claims Hebei outbreak to be contained in a month
Published: Jan 12, 2021 10:35 AM

A resident receives a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use in Shanghai. Photo: Yang Hui/GT

The COVID-19 vaccination rate around the world seems low and the future of the fight between humans and coronavirus depends on the speed of COVID-19 vaccination, Chinese infectious disease specialist Zhang Wenhong posted on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo on Tuesday, noting that the latest Hebei outbreak in North China will be curbed effectively in about one month thanks to the nation's effective measures.

If we can promote the vaccination safely and efficiently, we can build up an immunity defense against the virus, despite the pandemic might not be curbed at the end of this year globally, Zhang noted.

About 6.7 million people have received a first dose of a vaccine in the US, which is far from the goal of getting at least 20 million people vaccinated by the end of 2020, according to media reports.

Based on this rate of vaccination, the proportion of people vaccinated and naturally immunized will only reach about 30 percent by the end of 2021, making it impossible to control the epidemic effectively, Zhang said.

If the vaccination rate can be increased from 13 percent to 25 percent, along with effective non-medical interventions such as social distancing and hand washing, the Rt can drop below 1, (which means theoretically that the transmission number is less than one for each coronavirus infection), he said. 

He stressed that in the short term, the efficiency of vaccination should be quickly improved to effectively control the outbreak, otherwise, this year will see pressure on medical institutions and the number of COVID-19 related deaths continue to climb.

He listed the UK's pandemic situation as an example. Based on the report "Short-term forecasts of COVID-19 deaths in multiple countries" released on December 28, the Rt in the UK has been controlled at around 1.3, indicating that effective non-medical intervention policy is key to controlling the epidemic along with vaccinations. The UK has recently implemented strict pandemic preventive measures nationwide.

Zhang received his second shot of COVID-19 vaccine on Monday in Shanghai, suggesting those who go abroad should wait two weeks after injection, and protective measures are still needed including social distancing.