Chinese New Year is just around the corner. More gatherings and festive activities are estimated to be filling up Beijing homes soon. Due to that, thousands of people have been lining up in the city on Monday to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, individually. The steps are taken as China races to innoculate millions before the Chinese New Year mass travel season in February.
Currently, more than 73,000 people in the Chinese capital have received the first dose of the vaccine. Community workers and bus drivers are no exception as well, state media reported Sunday. During New Year’s Eve, health authorities granted conditional approval to a vaccine candidate made by Chinese pharma giant Sinopharm. The company said it had a 79 percent efficacy rate in Phase III trials. The vaccine requires two doses per person.
As Beijing vaccinates thousands in Covid-19 jab drive, there are about 50 million more people to be immunized before Beijing’s busiest travel month of the year.
An AFP journalist saw people being bussed into a temporary vaccine centre at a central park after being instructed to fill in electronic forms about their health status and any allergies at an outside gate. From state broadcaster, CCTV showed queues outside local hospitals and community health centres as people waited to read consent forms and have their temperatures taken before getting the jab. Some were even wearing two layers of surgical face masks.
A man surnamed Gu, a catering worker in his 30s told AFP his employer had booked him a vaccine appointment at the centre, and that he wanted the jab “for peace of mind.”
“I believe any adverse effects will be controllable,” he said.
Health officials said gyms and empty factories were among centres being used for the vaccination programme recently. As the city continues the operation, China plans to vaccinate millions this winter in the run-up to Lunar New Year in mid-February.
As for now, Beijing has already administered around 4.5 million doses of largely unproven emergency vaccines this year, which mostly to health workers and other state employees destined for overseas jobs, according to authorities.
However, the country has developed a new plan for a gradual rollout strategically. It starts with key groups considered to have a high risk of exposure to the virus. This includes port and food logistic workers and people planning to return to studies abroad.
Even though the first cases of Covid-19 emerged in the Central Chinese city of Wuhan late in 2019, the country has broadly stamped out of the virus inside its borders. From swift local lockdowns to mass testing whenever cases emerge, these were part of the country’s initiative to flatten the curve.
Not to mention how the country has stepped up testing and movement controls after a recent spate of small local outbreaks, including a handful of Beijing cases.
Source: AFP Relax News