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China steps up mass inoculation to curb Delta variant

BEIJING, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) — Local authorities in China have ramped up mass vaccination drives to contain the latest resurgence of COVID-19 attributable to the highly contagious Delta variant.

A total of 17 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland had reported locally transmitted infections linked to this coronavirus strain as of Wednesday.

More than 1.7 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered on the Chinese mainland by Tuesday, according to the National Health Commission (NHC). It took China less than a week to administer the most recent 100 million vaccine jabs.

The country’s mass inoculation campaign has accelerated since multiple places reported local COVID-19 infections related to the Delta variant.

On Wednesday, the Chinese mainland reported 62 new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases — 40 in Jiangsu, nine in Hunan, three each in Beijing, Shandong, Henan, and Yunnan, and one in Hubei, according to daily updates by the NHC.

In central China’s Hunan Province, health authorities have set up over 3,000 vaccination sites to meet the growing demand. Long queues can be seen at several vaccination sites in the provincial capital Changsha.

“The public has been keen to get vaccinated in recent days, so we have launched an online appointment platform and trained our staff to provide better services,” said Zhang Sili, a nurse at a vaccination station in Changsha’s Tianxin District.

Zhang added that the vaccination station has so far administered about 87,000 vaccine jabs to some 55,000 local residents.

Official data showed that as of Tuesday, Hunan had administered more than 67.8 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines, with over 25.5 million people in the province fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

China is orderly propelling its vaccination program among senior citizens and minors aged between 12 and 17, on the premise of ensuring safety.

By July 28, a total of 150 million people aged 60 and above in the country and 12.48 million minors in the aforementioned age group have been vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the NHC.

In Chengdu, capital of southwest China’s Sichuan Province that has recently reported a cluster of local COVID-19 infections, parents have been keen to get their children inoculated since the megacity extended its vaccination program to minors in early August.

“The Delta variant is very infectious, and I will feel safe after my kid gets vaccinated,” said a Chengdu resident surnamed Chen, who took her 12-year-old daughter to a local hospital for inoculation.

As of Tuesday, more than 3.6 million doses had been administered to minors aged between 12 and 17 in Sichuan, according to the provincial health commission.

China’s top medical experts have pointed out that COVID-19 vaccines are effective against the Delta variant.

Shao Yiming, a researcher with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said in a recent interview that although no vaccine can provide 100 percent protection against viral infections, various COVID-19 variants can still be controlled with existing vaccines.

Citing evidence-based studies, Shao noted that China’s domestic COVID-19 vaccines can effectively reduce rates of hospitalization, severe cases, and deaths.

Preliminary studies on the latest COVID-19 outbreak in south China’s Guangdong Province show that China’s homegrown vaccines are effective against the Delta variant, China’s top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said Saturday. The protective effect of China’s domestic vaccines is 100 percent effective against severe cases, 76.9 percent against moderate cases, 67.2 percent against mild ones, and 63.2 percent against asymptomatic carriers, respectively, Zhong added



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