CHINA / SOCIETY
Beijing may reach 70% inoculation rate by May; uses signs, thank-you notes to encourage vaccination
Published: Apr 08, 2021 11:20 PM
Medical workers check out people's health condition before vaccination at a temporary vaccination site in Chaoyang district, Beijing, on Monday. Photo: Li Hao/GT

Medical workers check out people's health condition before vaccination at a temporary vaccination site in Chaoyang district, Beijing, on Monday. Photo: Li Hao/GT


As China is speeding up the pace of COVID-19 inoculation, Beijing is encouraging its residents, especially the elderly, to get vaccinated by posting inoculation data signs and "thank you notes." Experts expect Beijing to reach a 70 percent inoculation rate, the threshold for herd immunity, by May.  

Signs on the walls of several residential communities, mostly in hutong, in Dongcheng and Xicheng districts - two core districts in Beijing - show the inoculation rate that the community has achieved. 

Some of the communities had rates of more than 80 percent and got a green sign and a "thank-you note," while the ones with rates of 40-80 percent got a yellow sign. Those with rates of less than 40 percent got a red sign, according to the Global Times' observations on Thursday. 

The signs featuring different colors raised some concerns on Chinese social media platforms, with some saying that they might put pressure on areas with low inoculation rates and people who were not willing or ready to get a shot.

Pictures shows a sign indicating inoculation rate of 40-80% in a Beijing community. Photo: Lou Kang/GT

Pictures shows a sign indicating inoculation rate of 40-80% in a Beijing community. Photo: Lou Kang/GT


An employee from the Shichahai Lake street office, Xicheng district, told the Global Times on Wednesday that posting these signs is a part of the efforts to promote vaccination in Beijing's residential communities.  

In a random interview with residents on Thursday, a Global Times reporter found most of them did not mind the signs. 

"It doesn't bother me at all," said a resident in his 20s. "I haven't gotten the shot yet because for me there is no need to rush. COVID-19 seems far way and I believe most of the others who haven't gotten vaccinated feel the same."

A vaccination volunteer in Andingmen told the Global Times that "our country will resume normal communication with the rest of the world sooner or later. That's why the vaccination is necessary and people should get their shots as soon as possible."

The volunteer said that local residents are able to get shots at the inoculation sites. Previously, people who wanted to get vaccinated needed to make appointments online first. 

Other cities are also encouraging COVID-19 inoculation via creative, considerate and non-coercive measures. Choices made by the public will be crucial in achieving the goal of immunizing 40 percent of the population by June, which experts said is likely to be achieved through an accelerated vaccination program.  

Feng Duojia, president of the China Vaccine Industry Association, told the Global Times on Thursday that China is expected to vaccinate 70 percent of its population by the end of 2021 to achieve herd immunity.

Relative to its population of nearly 21 million, Beijing is expected to reach a 70-percent inoculation rate by May, Feng predicted. 

Beijing had vaccinated more than 11 million people as of Saturday, accounting for 50 percent of the population. In early March, the number was 6 million.

As of Wednesday, China had injected nearly 150 million doses. The rate of inoculation in the country is about 5 percent, while the US has reached 33 percent, according to the New York Times. 

Some medical experts have worried about the immunity gap between China and the rest of the world, which would push up the risk of imported cases.

However, Feng said that there was no necessity to compare China with other countries. 

"We are in a different situation in this pandemic, where the US has a smaller population than China, yet it has more COVID-19 cases. While in China, the population is much bigger and yet there are almost no cases."

"What we need is 'absolute population coverage' to make sure that every citizen in the country gets the vaccine by the end of the year," said Feng.




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