China completes half-year vaccination goal early, will cover as many people as possible in H2
Published: Jun 30, 2021 11:42 PM
People take COVID-19 vaccines at the temporary vaccination site at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station in east China's Shanghai, May 29, 2021. Photo: Xinhua

People take COVID-19 vaccines at the temporary vaccination site at Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station in East China's Shanghai, May 29, 2021. Photo: Xinhua

Wednesday was the deadline for China to reach its goal of vaccinating about 40 percent of its targeted population, and authorities in several provinces said they had achieved the goal in advance. 

Health authorities in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province announced on Monday that they had accomplished the half-year goal three days in advance, as about 3.2 million doses had been administered to about 1.7 million people in the province as of Monday, taking the vaccination rate for adults in Heilongjiang to 60 percent.    

Other provinces like Central China's Hunan, East China's Anhui and South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region also confirmed that they had finished the goal, media reported on Tuesday. 

In total, China had administered about 1.23 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Tuesday, according to the National Health Commission, nearly half of the 3 billion doses administered globally.

Feng Duojia, president of the China Vaccine Industry Association, told the Global Times on Wednesday that China has achieved a very fast vaccination speed, so it is also possible for China to achieve its 2021 goal of vaccinating 70 percent of its population in advance. The key in the second half of this year is to ensure as many people as possible get fully vaccinated, he said. 

The vaccination success in China is based on the strong organizing and operating capacity of Chinese governments and growing public willingness to get vaccinated, given recent outbreaks.

Feng noted that the White House confirmed on June 22 that the US will not reach President Joe Biden's goal of having 70 percent of American adults receive at least one COVID-19 shot by July 4.

The Chinese National Health Commission on June 25 said that more than 630 million people in China with a population of about 1.4 billion had taken at least one shot, meaning the vaccination coverage has reached over 40 percent. The country has not revealed the number of people who were fully vaccinated as of Wednesday.

Separately, 2.2 million people in Hunan, 1.6 million in Guangxi and 2.1 in Anhui have completed the procedure, according to media report.  

Given the large population in China and the threat of the Delta variant, China's top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan estimated that it will require at least 80 percent of Chinese people - about 1.12 billion - to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity. 

Feng noted that, in order to build herd immunity, it is important to ensure that the 80 percent have obtained ideal immunity against the virus.

Vaccines do work but they are not 100-percent effective, and it is not rare to see cases in some countries and regions with high vaccination rates, such as the US, Chile and Brazil, where vaccinated people have been infected again, Chinese experts noted. They refuted recent doubts of some foreign media that Chinese vaccines are not effective enough.

Facing the threat of the deadly Delta variant, Feng stressed that it is necessary to continue strict anti-epidemic measures despite the vaccination drive, and called for the world to work together to "realize full vaccination of the whole targeted population as soon as possible."