COVID in China, Beijing ramps up efforts to allay public concerns about safety that risk hindering its vaccination drive, officials said on Saturday (July 23) that the Covid-19 vaccines are safe and have been given to leaders of the state and ruling Communist Party. This comes as Beijing is attempting to allay public concerns about safety that have the potential to hinder its vaccination drive.
“China’s state and Party leaders have all been vaccinated against COVID-19 with domestically made shots,” according to Zeng Yixin, deputy head of the National Health Commission of China.
State and Party leaders in China refer to the nation’s highest ranking officials, including President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang.
Zeng’s remark came around two years after the country began its COVID-19 vaccination drive, but he did not specify when officials received the jab or how many doses they had received. When it comes to informing the public about the vaccination status of their leaders, China lags far behind many other countries.
The low vaccination rate among the elderly population, according to experts and government officials, could put a strain on health care resources in the event of a widespread outbreak and make China less prepared to relax its “dynamic COVID zero” policy, which mandates strict quarantine requirements for international travelers and various curbs on people’s movement and local businesses in domestic areas with clusters.
Even though the country has a vaccination rate of 89.7% and has boosted the immunity of about 56% of its 1.41 billion citizens, only 61% of its citizens aged 80 and up have received all of their primary vaccinations.
Frontline officials’ more aggressive pushes, such as restricting public venue access for the unvaccinated, sparked online backlash and were quickly reversed.
The lack of transparency from the Chinese government and vaccine manufacturers has been criticized, and anecdotes of severe disease after vaccination have caused widespread fear online.
“COVID-19 vaccines do not cause leukemia or diabetes, nor do they affect genetic development, cause tumor metastasis or antibody-dependent enhancement, and those are irresponsible, false information on the Internet,” expert on infectious diseases at a Chinese military hospital, Wang Fusheng.
Wang reported at a press conference that between 2018 and 2022, the in-patient hospitalization rates for diabetes and leukemia were similar.
According to Feng Zijian, an official at the Chinese preventive Medicine Association, those over the age of 60 who receive a full primary vaccination with Chinese shots have an 89% reduced risk of developing a severe disease, and those who receive a booster vaccination have a 95% reduced risk, compared with the unvaccinated.
Without providing specific readings, Feng said the result came from an analysis of data by the Chinese disease control authority regarding Omicron infections found primarily in mainland China during the months of March to June.
Popular Chinese shot manufacturers included Sinovac and Sinopharm. Foreign-made COVID-19 products have not yet been approved for sale in the country.