Chinese cities speed up vaccination for teenagers preparing for new semester
Published: Aug 11, 2021 08:22 PM
A medical worker administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine for a student at a high school in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, July 29, 2021. The city started COVID-19 vaccination for minors aged between 12 and 17 on Thursday.Photo:Xinhua

A medical worker administers a dose of COVID-19 vaccine for a student at a high school in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong Province, July 29, 2021. Photo:Xinhua

Amid COVID-19 resurgence in multiple provinces across China, many cities are promoting large-scale vaccination campaigns for minors aged 12-17 on a voluntary basis during the summer holiday, in a bid to ensure that the new semester starts normally in early September.

Shanghai, for instance, will begin vaccinations for those aged 15-17 from Thursday, local media reported. Parents or other guardians can make an appointment online for children and accompany them to the designated sites for vaccination.

The report said that the schedule of vaccination appointments for those aged 12-14 will be announced later. For foreign nationals and compatriots from China's Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan aged between 12 and 17, vaccinations will be launched according to relevant arrangements, the Shanghai report said.

The report noted that the vaccines to be used are Sinopharm's and Sinovac's inactivated vaccines, which require two doses.

Some districts in Beijing launched vaccinations for high-school students (aged 15-17) on July 20 and junior high schoolers (aged 12-14) in early August, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

As of Tuesday, Beijing has administered 37.7 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, of which 477,900 were given to people aged 12-17, according to the local health bureau. 

At Wednesday's press conference, the local education authority said that elementary schools, junior high and high schools, and universities in the Chinese capital would start classes on time, which usually falls on September 1. 

Teachers, students and staff members in low-risk areas in Beijing are asked to avoid travel to medium- and high-risk areas, avoid gatherings, conduct health monitoring, and return to school on time.

The city encouraged students to return to Beijing by August 15, or two weeks before the new semester, in case home quarantine and health tests may affect their attendance.

Haikou, South China's Hainan Province, is organizing as many eligible people aged 12-17 as possible to take inoculations on a voluntary basis, according to a local press conference.

When students register for the fall semester, education departments and schools at all levels are requested to check their COVID-19 vaccination certificates, according to Haikou's regulation. But it said this was aimed at learning the vaccination status of people aged 12-17, and vaccination will not be a mandatory condition for school enrollment.

Shangrao, East China's Jiangxi Province, launched a similar campaign for people aged 15-17.

Huang Yuhong, a teacher at a local junior high school in Shangrao, told the Global Times on Wednesday that her class has 43 students eligible for vaccination, and 40 got their first doses on Tuesday in the company of their parents. The last three plan to get vaccinated in the next few days, Huang said.

Huang said her school organized students to get vaccinations at school and the staff guided the students to queue in an orderly manner on Tuesday during the summer holiday.

Students cannot be vaccinated until their guardians sign a consent letter, Huang said, noting that parents have cooperated with the anti-epidemic work and no students had developed obvious adverse symptoms after inoculation.

From Tuesday, minors aged 12- 14 in Qingdao, East China's Shandong Province, started receiving inoculations. As of 3 pm that day, the city had given more than 80,000 doses to eligible minors.

Nearly 190,000 people aged 15-17 in Ji'nan, Shandong were inoculated as of August 5, and the city plans to complete the full vaccination of people aged 15-17 by the end of August.

In Suzhou and Fuyang of East China's Anhui Province, the first doses for people aged 15-17 were completed in July. South China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region began the vaccination campaign for people aged 12-17 in July. 

Changzhou in East China's Jiangsu Province and Jingzhou in Central China's Hubei Province gave the first doses for people aged 12-17 starting on August 1.

With the epidemic resurging in Wuhan, Central China's Hubei Province, some schools in the city vowed to arrange online courses for senior high school students, and some elementary schools issued a ban on leaving the city. The local education bureau planned to vaccinate students aged 12-15 in August.

On August 5, the ministry said that schools in medium- and high-risk areas would be suspended and students from those areas were requested not to attend school. 

Recently, an official of the Ministry of Education said it's necessary for teenagers to get vaccinated under the current circumstances. The ministry requested local departments to start vaccination of students under 18 years old on a voluntary basis.

Over 1.8 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in China as of Tuesday, the National Health Commission said Wednesday.