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China approaches herd immunity with 50% of population vaccinated


Jul 2, 2014

People receive COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination site in Gulou District of Nanjing, east China's Jiangsu Province, April 9, 2021.(Photo: Xinhua)

China has administered more than 1.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, covering about half of its 1.4 billion population as of Tuesday, People's Daily reported Wednesday, citing data from the National Health Commission.

According to People's Daily, China has maintained a rate of administering roughly 100 million doses a week since May following some small-scale outbreaks. For example, it took nine days from July 4 to July 13 for the number to grow from 1.3 to 1.4 billion and six days from June 28 to July 4 to grow from 1.2 to 1.3 billion.

The speed peaked at 100 million per five days when the number grew from 900 million to 1 billion from June 14-19 as well as 1 billion to 1.1 billion from June 19-24.

China's top respiratory disease specialist, Zhong Nanshan, estimated the speed would be even faster in the second half of 2021.

According to Zhong, if vaccine efficacy is 70 percent, then for China the vaccination rate should reach 83.3 percent of the population to build herd immunity, whereas around the world, the rate should be 89.2 percent. For Asia and Europe, the rates should reach 80.2 percent and 96.2 percent, respectively.

With a vaccine efficacy of 80 percent, 72.9 percent of the people in China should be vaccinated to reach herd immunity, while the figure should be 78 percent globally, 70.2 percent for Asia and 84.2 percent for Europe, according to the statistics that Zhong presented.

Feng Duojia, president of the China Vaccine Industry Association, told the Global Times on Wednesday that while accelerating the speed of vaccination, China should also ensure the quality of vaccination.

"We should try to finish vaccination of all groups who need the vaccine by no later than early 2022 and ensure that 70 percent of them, about 1 billion people, gain enough immunity to lay a good foundation for herd immunity," Feng said.

Feng previously told the Global Times that China is expected to vaccinate at least 70 percent of its population by the end of 2021.

Are they going to lift all the restrictions after reaching 72%?
Doesn't seem likely. The new variants spreading around the world makes vaccines less effective. China will probably need a updated vaccine for the variants given out as a booster shot.

Also, restrictions are only on inbound travelers. This actually works in China's favor by developing domestic tourism.

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