China to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations for its elderly | Inquirer News

China to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations for its elderly

/ 04:15 PM November 30, 2022
China to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations

People pass by a poster encouraging elderly people to get vaccinated against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), near a residential compound in Beijing, China March 30, 2022. Picture taken March 30, 2022. REUTERS FILE PHOTO

BEIJING — China will speed up COVID-19 vaccinations for elderly people, health officials said on Tuesday, aiming to overcome a key stumbling block in efforts to ease unpopular “zero-COVID” curbs.

The move is seen as a crucial element in a strategy to unwind nearly three years of strict curbs that have eroded economic growth, disrupted the lives of millions, and sparked unprecedented weekend protests.

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The National Health Commission (NHC) said it would target more vaccinations at people older than 80 and reduce to three months the gap between basic vaccination and booster shots for the elderly.

“It is also the hope that our elderly friends, especially those over 80, will take the initiative and get vaccinated for their personal health protection,” said Xia Gang, an NHC official in charge of immunization services.

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Optimizing services and delivering more accurate publicity were a priority, he told a briefing.

The elderly will get easy access through special priority services, with mobile vaccination vehicles also pressed into service, the NHC said.

A publicity campaign will be launched to fight vaccine hesitancy among the aged, promoting the benefits of vaccines in staving off severe illness and death, it added.

The share of those aged 60 and older who have received two doses was 86.4% by Nov. 11, up by less than a percentage point since August, official data show.

Recipients of a booster jab made up 68.2% of the elderly population, up marginally from 67.8% three months earlier.

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TAGS: China, COVID-19 Vaccines, Health
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