China will continue to inoculate at-risk personnel before mass vaccination

Beijing, Dec 19 (efe-epa).- China will continue to vaccinate groups at high risk of being infected with the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus, such as health workers, customs officers and transporters, before launching campaigns to inoculate on a large scale, health authorities said Saturday.

Deputy director of the National Health Commission Zeng Yixin said at a press conference that the objective is to create herd immunity over several immunization phases.

He added that for the time being, groups with a higher risk of infection will be vaccinated in the winter and spring, including personnel who work in the cold chain and fresh food markets, as well as customs, transport and sanitation workers and those going abroad to study or work.

The situation in China is generally stable, unlike in other countries, he said, adding that the country is doing a “very good job of prevention.”

On July 22, China authorized the use of Covid vaccines on medical personnel and officials for “emergency cases.”

Since then, the country has vaccinated more than a million people without registering severe adverse reactions, said the director of the NHC’s Development Center for Medical Science and Technology, Zheng Zhongwei, at the same press conference on Saturday.

He said that 60,000 people who traveled outside Chinese borders received the high-risk vaccine and did not become infected.

Vaccines against Covid are expected to protect for more than half a year, but whether they can do so for a period of five to 10 years or for life is still uncertain, he added.

Zheng said that three Chinese companies have passed biosafety inspections of their vaccine production facilities and will begin mass production after official approval.

The United Arab Emirates has been the first country to approve a Chinese vaccine, one developed by Sinopharm, but Beijing has not yet officially announced its authorization for any of the country’s vaccines that have concluded phase three clinical trials.

According to the South China Morning Post, China will vaccinate 50 million people from high-priority groups for the Lunar New Year holidays, which begin on Feb. 12, with the aim of preventing outbreaks during the world’s largest internal migration.

Vaccination for the general Chinese population is not expected to begin until after the Lunar New Year, it added. EFE-EPA


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