Slow start, China speeds up vaccination | Coronavirus pandemic news

In just five days last month, China injected 100 million COVID-19 vaccines.

After a slow start, it is now doing what almost no other country in the world can do: using its one-party system and mature domestic vaccine industry power and all-encompassing influence to inject injections at an alarming rate.

The promotion effort is far from perfect, including uneven distribution, but Chinese public health leaders now say that they hope to vaccinate 80% of the 1.4 billion population by the end of this year.

As of Tuesday, China has received more than 680 million doses of vaccines—nearly half in May alone. According to the online research site Our World in Data, the total number of photos in China accounts for about one-third of the 1.9 billion photos in the world.

The call for vaccination comes from all corners of society. The company provides injection opportunities to their employees, and the school urges their students and staff, as well as local government staff, to inspect their residents.

This pressure not only emphasizes the strength of the system, which makes it possible to even consider vaccinating more than 1 billion people this year, but also emphasizes the risks faced by civil liberties-a problem that the world is paying attention to, but it is particularly serious in China. Because China has almost no protective measures.

“Communists go to every village and every neighborhood,” said Ray Yip, a former director of the Gates Foundation China and a public health expert. “This is the harsh part of the system, but it also provides a very powerful mobilization.”

On Wednesday, June 2, 2021, Beijing residents lined up to receive the Sinopharm vaccine [Andy Wong/ AP]

According to the 7-day rolling average of Our World in Data, China now averages about 19 million shots per day. This means that every person in Italy is given a dose approximately every three days. The United States, which has about a quarter of China’s population, reached about 3.4 million daily shots at full speed in April.

It is not clear how many people in China are fully vaccinated-which may mean one to three doses of vaccine-because the government has not publicly released these data.

Zhong Nanshan, the leader of the National Health Commission’s expert team and a well-known government doctor, said on Sunday that 40% of the population had been vaccinated at least once, and the goal was to get this percentage to be fully vaccinated. The end of the month.

In the capital, Beijing, 87% of the population has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Getting vaccinated is as easy as walking into one of the hundreds of vaccination sites spread across the city. Vaccination buses stop in high-traffic areas, including downtowns and shopping centers.

But Beijing’s abundance is not shared with other parts of the country. Reports from local media and complaints on social media indicate that it is difficult to make appointments elsewhere.

“I started queuing at 9 in the morning until 6 in the afternoon, and then I got the shot. I was so tired,” Zhou Hongxia, a resident of Lanzhou in northwestern Gansu Province, recently explained. “When I left, there were still people waiting.”

Mr. Zhou’s husband is not so lucky and has not been shot yet. When they called the local hotline, they were told to just wait.

Before the campaign was launched in recent weeks, many people were not in a hurry to get vaccinated, because China used strict border controls and compulsory measures in the past year to shut out the virus that was first detected in its central city, Wuhan. quarantine area. It faces small-scale infections from time to time and is currently under management in the southern city of Guangzhou.

Central government officials said on Monday that they are working to ensure a more even supply.

Analysts and industry insiders said that although there are distribution problems, Chinese manufacturers are unlikely to have scale problems.

Huaxing and Sinopharm distribute most of the vaccines in China, and they are both actively increasing production, building brand new factories, and reusing existing factories for COVID-19. Huaxing’s vaccine and one of Sinopharm’s two vaccines have received emergency use authorization from the World Health Organization, but these companies, especially Sinopharm, have been criticized for the lack of transparency in sharing data.

“In terms of architecture, what place in the world can compare with China? How long did it take to build our temporary hospital?” asked Li Mengyuan, who is in charge of drug research at the financial company Western Securities. China established a field hospital in just a few days at the beginning of the pandemic.

Huaxing said its production capacity has doubled to 2 billion doses per year, while Sinopharm said it can produce up to 3 billion doses per year. However, Sinopharm has not disclosed the latest data on the actual dose it produced, and a company spokesperson did not respond to a request for comment. The company said on Friday that as of the end of May, Sinovac had produced 540 million doses of vaccine this year.

Government support is vital to every step of vaccine developers—just like in other countries—but, like everything, the scope and scale of China is different.

Yang Xiaoming, chairman of Sinopharm China National Biotechnology Group, recently told state media about the company’s initial need to borrow laboratory space from government research centers when developing vaccines.

“We sent the samples, there is no need to discuss money, that’s what we did,” he said.

Chinese vaccine companies basically do not rely on imported products in the production process. This is a huge benefit when many countries are vying for the same material, which means that China may be able to avoid what happened to the Indian Serum Institute, whose production is in trouble due to the dependence on the United States for certain ingredients.

But as the supply of vaccines increases, so does the pressure to take it.

In Beijing, a researcher at a university said that the school’s Communist Party team would call him once a month, ask him if he was vaccinated, and offer to make an appointment for him.

So far, he has refused to get the vaccine because he prefers the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, saying he believes its data. He declined to be named because he fears that his work at a government university may be affected by publicly questioning the Chinese vaccine.

China has not yet approved the use of Pfizer-BioNTech, and researchers are not sure how long he can last-although the government has now warned against direct compulsory vaccination.

“They don’t have to say it is mandatory,” said Ye, a public health expert. “They won’t announce the need for vaccinations, but they can put pressure on you.”

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