China is considering rolling out a fourth round of Covid-19 vaccines as pressure on the government mounts to move away from the stringent virus restrictions.
Chinese officials are making plans for the rollout, although a final decision on timing and vaccine candidates still has to be made, Bloomberg reported.
The report said that Chinese officials are making plans for the rollout, however, a final decision on timing and vaccine candidates is still unclear.
Elderly people, which have some of the lowest vaccination rates in China, will be prioritized for fourth shots, one of the officials said.
The announcement comes after a weekend of protests demanding an end to the country’s strict zero-Covid policy, which responds to even small caseloads with harsh lockdowns and quarantine orders.
Earlier on Tuesday, China announced it would speed up a push to vaccinate people aged 60 and older against Covid-19 after record daily cases.
China’s low vaccination rates, particularly among the older population, have long been seen as prolonging Beijing’s no-tolerance approach to Covid.
Just 65.8 percent of people over 80 are fully vaccinated, NHC officials told a press conference Tuesday.
Earlier in September, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) said in an article that “a well-timed second booster dose is necessary for a safe, long-term exit from the pandemic.”
According to a report in Global Times, China had already clinical research on the second booster shot in September.
China, where the virus first was detected in late 2019 in the central city of Wuhan, is the last major country trying to stop transmission completely. Others are relaxing controls and trying to live with the virus that has killed at least 6.6 million people worldwide and sickened almost 650 million.
Chinese protesters accuse the ruling Communist Party of failing to outline a path away from restrictions that have repeatedly closed businesses and schools and suspended access to neighborhoods. The curbs have kept case numbers lower than other countries but are seen by the public and scientists as excessive.
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