25 May 2024
The problem of Chinese community immunity 4

The problem of Chinese community immunity 4

Several cities with fast vaccination rates are vying with each other to become the first in China to achieve herd immunity.

The race towards achieving local herd immunity is fierce inside China.

The World Health Organization (WHO) advocates moving towards community immunity through vaccines instead of letting the virus spread freely.

As of June 16, nearly 16 million Beijing residents have been vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine.

Beijing’s vaccination rate is similar to San Francisco, which is on track to become the first US city to achieve herd immunity after vaccinating 74% of the population over 12 years old, the minimum age eligible for vaccination.

People get vaccinated against Covid-19 in Shenyang city, Liaoning province, China, in June. Photo: Xinhua.

In Chinese cities considered to be at high risk from imported cases, cities near the border or large cities are considered priority and have wider vaccine access, the proportion of people

Hainan Island soon began mass vaccination in March to `quickly build an immune barrier` before two important events: the Boao Forum Asia in April and the China International Consumer Goods Exhibition

In Shanghai, more than 16.8 million people, equivalent to over 67% of the population, have also completed the vaccination regimen, as of June 29.

Next are two other large cities, including Haikou with 61% of the population vaccinated, as of June 21, and Shenzhen, with 57% of the population, as of June 26.

Although these cities stand out for their high vaccination rates, they still maintain social distancing and strict rules such as wearing masks, measuring body temperature and declaring health conditions.

Fan Fan still wore a mask when queuing with her friends to enter a restaurant in central Beijing last week even though it was very hot and she was fully vaccinated.

To get to the restaurant, Fan must take the subway and have his body temperature checked as a mandatory requirement.

`Scanning the code to display my health status takes only a few seconds. Such inconveniences are nothing compared to being infected with Covid-19. Honestly, I feel safe when everyone

Public health experts emphasize that China still needs to maintain restrictive measures, such as strict border controls and social distancing rules, to prevent major outbreaks before the country

Experts generally agree that at least 70% of the population must be immune, either through vaccines or natural infection, to achieve herd immunity.

With the risk of new virus variants emerging that are more transmissible and the unclear level of protection of Chinese vaccines, some public health experts, including expert Zhong Nam Son and

According to John Kaldor, professor at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales, whether or not achieving herd immunity depends on many factors and even if the goal is achieved, it may not be sustainable.

The vaccine may prevent symptomatic disease, but it is unclear how effective it is in helping prevent virus transmission in asymptomatic people.

`A country can achieve herd immunity one day and lose it the next day,` Kaldo said.

Suzanne Judd, a professor at the University of Alabama school of public health, said that instead of `testing` herd immunity, countries need to monitor the number of Covid-19 infections as an indicator after reaching one billion.

`We cannot directly measure herd immunity without massive investment and redirecting resources to testing instead of vaccination. Because this is not a cost-effective way to do it from a cost perspective.`

According to Kaldor, with China largely protected by strict testing and quarantine measures at the border, cities with high vaccination rates need to first open up and see how well their populations are protected.

Beijing, which will host the Winter Olympics next February, remains largely closed.

The Chinese capital has planned a series of events, such as the Asian Open Figure Skating Cup from October 13 to 17, as a testing stepping stone for the Winter Olympics.

An anonymous official from the National Health Commission said last month that China plans to vaccinate 75-80% of the population by October, at which point some `local areas` could start adjusting

Vu Hoang (According to SCMP)

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