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China is accelerating vaccination with free eggs and other goods

TAIPAI, Taiwan (AP) – China’s success in controlling the coronavirus outbreak has led to a population that seemed almost undesirable to be vaccinated. So he speeds up his inoculation campaign by offering incentives – free eggs, shop coupons and discounts on groceries and goods – to those who try.

After a slow start, China now produces millions of photos a day. On March 26 alone, it fired 6.1 million shots. Senior state doctor Zhong Nanshan announced a goal in June to vaccinate 560 million of the country’s 1.4 billion people.

The challenge lies in part in the sheer scale of the effort and the need to convince a population that currently feels safe from infections.

When patients first appeared in Wuhan hospitals in late 201

9 with fever, cough and difficulty breathing, the government locked the city and others in Hubei Province for more than two months, starting in January 2020. Wuhan later became known as the epicenter of an outbreak.

Since then, China has controlled the virus through strict border controls and rapid blockades when new outbreaks appear. People can dine in restaurants and the risk of infection is low, so many people are in no hurry to get the vaccine.

“I think everyone has a sense of security and comfort and there’s no rush to get vaccinated unless you’re asked to do so,” said Helen Chen, a health care specialist at a market research firm in Shanghai.

But China also wants to open up as the world seeks to return to normalcy before the pandemic, and Beijing is ready to welcome tens of thousands of visitors to host the February 2022 Winter Olympics. tracking contacts smartphones, the government also weighs these measures in balance with a possible return to normal.

For now, in major cities such as Shanghai and Beijing, the government relies heavily on durable communications and free services to persuade people to get vaccinated.

Shopping malls offer points in stores or coupons. A temple in Beijing offered free admission to anyone who showed proof of vaccination. Shanghai uses buses in its campaign to set up mobile vaccination points.

And then there are free eggs.

“Good news. Starting today, residents aged 60 and over who fired their first shot are entitled to five gin (2.5 kilograms). Come first, serve first,” a poster from the city’s health center said. Beijing.

Wang Feng was too young for the eggs at the clinic, but the 25-year-old chef said he got the vaccine anyway because he couldn’t go to work without it.

“I thought if it worked, then it could,” he added.

Some people have expressed doubts about how good the existing vaccines are, Chinese or not, given how quickly they have been developed.

“I don’t think such an effective vaccine can be made that fast,” said Amy Lou, who works at a university in Shanghai.

The five vaccines currently used in China have an efficiency of 50.7% to 79.3%, based on what the companies say. That doesn’t mean they have no value – most experts say anything over 50% is helpful in controlling a pandemic, along with preventing hospitalizations and deaths.

“Even if everyone receives two doses, you may not be able to achieve herd immunity,” said Wang Chengwang, a former professor at Beijing Medical College and an immunology expert. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient population has immunity, either from vaccinations or a past infection, to stop the uncontrolled spread of an infectious disease.

China may need to vaccinate at least 1 billion people to achieve this, said Wang Huaqing, a senior immunology official at China’s Centers for Disease Control, in an interview with state media this week. By early April, approximately 34 million people had received two shots, and about 65 million had received a single dose.

Gao Fu, head of the CDC, said last weekend that China was considering different strategies such as mixing different vaccines to try to increase effectiveness. External experts say China may eventually introduce other, more effective vaccines, such as Pfizer or Moderna.

“The best thing to do is to actually allow the use of other better vaccines and make them available to the Chinese people, but that’s probably very challenging politically,” said Jin Dong-yang, an expert on vaccines from Hong University Medical School in Kong.

Chinese drugmaker Fosun Pharmaceutical Group has partnered with Germany’s BioNTech to sell the Pfizer vaccine in China. However, it is only approved in Hong Kong and Macao, special territories in China with their own regulatory agencies. A clinical trial is underway for continental approval.

Vaccination is believed to be voluntary, but excessive efforts by some local governments and companies have prompted health officials to issue a warning this week against forced vaccinations.

A hospital in Danzhou in the southern island province of Hainan apologized after issuing a notice to staff saying, “Those who are not vaccinated can be fired.”

In a statement from Zhejiang Province on April 2, all government departments, Communist Party cadres and people working at universities will have to take the lead in receiving photos.

The national government is also demanding vaccination for all residents of Ruili, a border town with Myanmar, due to a recent outbreak.

Getting vaccinated can also mean that you can avoid some of the more burdensome obstacles that some local institutions have created in the name of fighting the pandemic.

Beijing student Bright Lee said he had been vaccinated so he would no longer need approval to leave campus. Although barely forced, Lee became alarmed after the university posted posters publicly condemning a student who left campus without permission last winter after that student went to an area with a confirmed case of COVID-19.

Vaccine propulsion faces scattered shortages and delays.

In Haikou, the capital of Hainan, health authorities issued a temporary stay to provide a second shot to those not involved in two major upcoming events, “due to the relative tightness” in the delivery of vaccines. There are also reports of shortages in two southern cities, Foshan in Guangdong Province and Xiamen Port in Fujian Province.

Chinese vaccine manufacturers have significantly expanded their production capacity, and health officials say they are confident that demand can be met by the end of the year.


Associated Press video producer Olivia Zhang of Beijing, researcher Chen Xi of Shanghai and science writer Aniruda Gosal of New Delhi contributed to the report.

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