Beijing ‘very close’ to become 1st Chinese city with herd immunity: experts
Published: May 18, 2021 09:04 PM
A woman receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Shushan District of Hefei, east China's Anhui Province, May 15, 2021. Since Friday morning, residents in Hefei have queued up at vaccination sites to receive COVID-19 vaccines. Some sites have prolonged their service time or even run around the clock.Photo:Xinhua


More than 80 percent of Beijing residents over the age of 18 have received their first shot of COVID-19 vaccine, a move amid an accelerated national campaign that has delivered at least 400 million vaccine doses.

Experts reached by Global Times said that Beijing is very close to become the first Chinese city achieving herd immunity, however, self-protection is still needed. 

Local media said on Monday that more than 15 million residents had received COVID-19 vaccines in the Chinese capital in the past five months. About 12.3 million residents out of a total of 21 million residents have finished the two-dose vaccination process. 

Beijing started its vaccination project on January 1. Of Beijing's 16 districts, 11 have inoculated at least 80 percent of their residents so far. The rates in Daxing and Shunyi districts, which house two international air hubs, have exceeded 90 percent.

The vaccination rates of employees in various industries such as healthcare, express delivery, tourism, hotels and other services have also exceeded 90 percent in Beijing, media reported.

About 2 million residents aged over 60 have received at least one dose of vaccine, among whom the oldest was 100 years old, and more than 20,000 foreigners have also been vaccinated, the Beijing Daily reported. 

Yang Zhanqiu, a deputy director of the pathogen biology department at Wuhan University, told the Global Times on Tuesday that Beijing is very close to achieving herd immunity. However, the process is yet to be completed, so people still need to protect themselves from potential infections through wearing masks and taking vaccines.

Feng Duojia, president of the China Vaccine Industry Association, told the Global Times on Tuesday that at the current pace, herd immunity is expected to be achieved in the Chinese mainland in June 2022, as scheduled. 

China is pushing its national vaccination campaign with an average of more than 10 million doses given per day. The daily number has increased, especially after a new case was discovered in East China's Anhui Province on May 13, as more people realize the importance of vaccines in self-protection. 

Administered doses nationwide exceeded 15 million on Monday, a new daily high.

Shao Yiming, a leading physician-scientist and immunologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Tuesday that China's vaccine supply is sufficient, and production capacity and demand for vaccine will also increase gradually.

As long as there is demand, the vaccination can surpass 20 million doses per day, Shao said in an interview with CCTV.

Anhui has seen a willingness among its residents to get vaccinated soar over the past few days, since the first confirmed local case was discovered in Lu'an several days ago. The province has administered 17 million doses and daily inoculations exceeded 1 million doses as of Sunday. 

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