China says 76 pct of population received complete doses of COVID-19 vaccines

Reuters

Posted at Oct 24 2021 05:39 PM

BEIJING - China has given complete doses of COVID-19 vaccines to about 75.6 percent of its population as of Oct. 23, National Health Commission spokesperson Mi Feng said on Sunday.

Some 1.068 billion people have now been inoculated with the required dosages, out of a population of 1.412 billion, Mi told a news briefing.

The country administered 2.245 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Saturday, official data showed.

China is giving booster shots to adults whose last dose was at least six months earlier, with priority groups including essential workers, older people and those with weaker immune systems. Data showed antibodies elicited by vaccines, including the most-used shots from Sinovac and Sinopharm, declined within months.

Wang Huaqing, chief expert for the immunization program at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said China would not keep giving people booster shots after booster shots.

"We hope that an ideal vaccine works well with the full doses of immunization," Wang told the briefing.

"Even if it needs to be strengthened later, the number of boosters is limited," Wang said. "We hope in the future there will be better vaccines and better vaccination procedures to achieve solid protection among the public."

China has largely contained the virus in most areas, and the sporadic local outbreaks are tiny compared with those seen in other countries.

However, Mi cautioned on Sunday there is increasing risk that China's latest outbreak, involving over 100 infections in a week across 11 provincial areas, will spread further.

(Reporting by Roxanne Liu, Han Xiao and Dominique Patton; Editing by William Mallard and Kim Coghill)