China released 17.3 million doses per day in June on average, a drastic increase from 4.8 million in April as it expanded the list of approved vaccines to seven by adding three more locally developed injections, and continued to boost production.
But the deployment has been uneven.
By the first week of June, the major cities of Beijing and Carry off they completely inoculated nearly 70% and 50% of their residents, respectively, but the rate in Guangdong and Shandong provinces remained below 20%.
“China is such a big country. Once any of its places are opened, it will have a huge impact on places that have not achieved high levels of vaccination,” said Feng Zijian, a researcher at the Chinese Center for the Control and Prevention of Diseases. earlier this month.
Feng said China has yet to reach a consensus on what vaccination rate will allow it to safely adjust virus control measures, including easing the quarantine or virus testing requirement for incoming travelers.
China will also wait and see how Japan handles its virus outbreak and the Tokyo Olympics next month before deciding how quickly Beijing needs to loosen its border controls, said a person familiar with the situation.
China is also stepping up vaccines in preparation to host the Winter Olympics early next year.
Several counties and districts in northern China’s Zhangjiakou city, which will host some of the games, urge residents to get vaccinated, saying it is a “necessary contribution” they should make to the international event.
As part of the city’s vaccination campaign, more than 1,800 unvaccinated visitors were deterred from entering a park in Xuanhua District earlier this month and guided to nearby vaccination sites, according to a social media post by authorities at the district level.
“There is not much time and the task is heavy,” Wu Weidong, head of the Communist Party’s city-level committee, said in a statement earlier this month.
He said the city is still falling short of its vaccination target without detailing its target or inoculation rate.
China has kept local transmission under control by conducting large-scale Covid tests and sealing off neighborhoods and streets when new cases emerged. He refuses to abandon this “zero tolerance” manual, even though the local outbreaks are small compared to those in other countries.
Zhang Wenhong, director of a team of experts in the treatment of Covid-19 in the city of Shanghai, said at a recent conference that it would be too early to abandon the policy or to open up completely until the total vaccination rate reaches at least the 70%.
For China, the flip side of low local transmission has been the difficulty in clearly measuring how effectively China’s vaccination campaign will help contain the spread of the virus.
Some countries like Britain and Chile are fighting an increase in new cases, even as they have one of the highest vaccination rates in the world – a warning for China.
Chile, which used a vaccine developed by China’s Sinovac as its main vaccination tool, said on Monday that it will extend a Covid-19 emergency until September as cases have soured to some of their highest levels since the start of the pandemic.