China vaccinates thousands before Lunar New Year festivities

Shanghai, China, Jan 5 (efe-epa).- China is vaccinating thousands of people every day ahead of the Lunar New Year on 12 February as part of a nationwide scheme to vaccinate 50 million people before the holiday, considered the busiest annual travel period in the world.

Beijing, which continues to see small outbreaks of the virus, has already administered the vaccine to over 73,000 people since their inoculation campaign began on 1 January, according to the state-run news agency Xinhua.

The vaccination process, which is being carried out in 220 centres across the capital, takes about 50 minutes, 30 of which are set aside for medical observation after the injection.

Artificial respirators, defibrillators and ambulances have been deployed to these facilities in case of any adverse reactions to inoculation.

In some areas, body temperature and general health stats of those vaccinated are monitored for seven days.

In the eastern province of Shandong, more than 217,000 doses have been administered – two per person are required – and in the northern region of Inner Mongolia, nearly half a million people are expected to be vaccinated by 5 February.

China approved emergency vaccinations in June 2020, and on 15 December gave the green light to a winter prevention programme to cold chain workers, customs officials, health workers, transporters and market employees.

According to the National Health Commission, by the end of 2020, four and a half million doses had been distributed to risk groups.

However, for the moment, people under 18 and over 59 years of age, pregnant and lactating women, as well as patients with chronic illnesses such as severe allergies, diabetes or hypertension cannot be vaccinated.

As more vaccines are approved for roll out and production capacity is expanded, vaccinations for the elderly and chronically ill will be introduced first before the rest of the Chinese population is targeted.

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