Over 100 million COVID-19 vaccinations administered in China: NHC
Published: Mar 28, 2021 08:08 PM
A construction worker for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games venues receives a COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday in the capital city. Beijing has vaccinated more than 5 million residents and 2.64 million have received two doses. Photo: cnsphoto

A construction worker for the Beijing Winter Olympic Games venues receives a COVID-19 vaccine in the capital city. Photo: cnsphoto

China set a milestone in both its national vaccination campaign and international vaccine deliveries, having administered 100 million shots domestically and one of its major vaccine makers supplying more than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines globally.

As the rollout ramps up, the number of daily inoculations has the potential to top 10 million doses, Chinese health authorities said previously. 

The National Health Commission (NHC) announced at a press conference on Sunday that the country had administered more than 100 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Saturday, proving its effectiveness and efficacy. 

It came after an affiliate of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm) said Friday that the global supply of two COVID-19 vaccines developed by its subsidiaries topped 100 million doses as of Friday.    

Since the NHC started giving daily vaccination data updates on March 24, the number of daily inoculations surpassed 3 million doses on average. 

China administered 6.11 million doses on March 26, the highest number of inoculations in a day so far, Wu Liangyou, an official from the NHC said at the press conference.

The country has already set up 74,766 vaccination sites in 15 regions.  

The Global Times has learnt that China has set a vaccination target of covering about 40 percent of the population by June, which means that the daily inoculation number will have to increase to about 10 million doses. Some experts previously told the Global Times that the daily inoculation rate nationwide has the potential to peak at about 15 million doses.

Data shows that China is now just 30 million doses behind the US, ranking second in the world in terms of vaccines administered. As of press time, the US had administered a total of 130 million doses. 

China's rapid vaccination rollout is backed by a nationwide coordination plan, which aims to implement vaccination in stages across the country. The NHC said it will continue to expand the inoculation capacity, optimize the delivery process of vaccines and scientifically arrange the turnover of vaccines, stressing that no regions should have vaccine backlogs.

For the next phase, cities across the country will continue to add temporary and door-to-door vaccination services to achieve an immunity barrier. 

Despite the acceleration, the current vaccination rate in China is 5.76 percent, ranking 57th in the world, data showed. 

Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based vaccine observer, told the Global Times that China's inoculation speed is climbing to its fast speed and will soon grow exponentially for achieving the target of administering jabs to 40 percent of the population by summer.

In the early stages, some areas may suffer from uneven vaccine distribution for a short period of time, but the situation will largely improve as China's vaccination scheme is based on nationwide coordination, Tao said.

To implement the campaign, the NHC has set up working groups stationed in places to guide them on how to implement the scheme. 

Under the framework of the national vaccination campaign, cities and provinces across China have rolled out its own version of the vaccination plan in accordance with its own need. 

At the Sunday press conference, officials from the NHC stressed that COVID-19 vaccines should not be given to people with health conditions listed on the vaccine introductions, underlining the safety precautions taken when receiving vaccines. 

With the increasing number of doses, people are concerned about how long it will effectively protect against COVID-19. 

Zhang Yuntao, vice president of the China National Biotec Group (CNBG), a subsidiary of the China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm), said at the press conference that his company has designed COVID-19 booster shots to improve the durability of antibodies. 

The company has obtained data indicating that antibodies will stay at a certain level for nine months in some people inoculated with an inactivated vaccine like the Sinopharm shot, and it is conducting studies on whether people should receive a booster shot to prolong and strengthen the efficacy of the antibodies against mutated variants. Preliminary data showed a booster shot can prolong and strengthen the efficacy of the antibodies against mutated variants.

A decision will be made when results from clinical trials conducted overseas are produced, Zhang said.