BEIJING (AP) – China does not seem to have a shortage of vaccines. Instead of having a COVID-19 outbreak, which is mostly controlled at home, not enough people want to get shot.
Chinese health officials called on the public on Sunday to get vaccinated. They said that if the vaccine did not guarantee infection, they would still require a 14-day quarantine for anyone arriving in China, even if they had been vaccinated.
“China will continue its ongoing preventive control measures to prevent imported cases and to prevent the return of domestic cases,” Feng ijijian, deputy director general of the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news conference.
Nearly 75 million doses of the vaccine were given on Saturday, according to the country’s National Health Commission. The number of people vaccinated would be lower, as some people were shot twice.
China, with 1.4 billion people, has a much lower vaccination rate than many other countries.
“Many people mistakenly think that vaccination has no practical significance, because the epidemic situation is under effective control, the virus is far away from us,” he Hinghua, a National Health Commission official, told a news conference.
He warned that no one is immune to the disease, that the epidemic is still spreading to other parts of the world, and that imported cases could spark new outbreaks in China.
Chinese officials want to get enough vaccinated people to achieve herd immunity. Because the outbreak was not common in China, a relatively small proportion of the population acquired immunity through past infections, he said. Mainland China reported 90,099 cases during the epidemic.
“Now that we have vaccines, we need to allow more people to get immunity and protection through vaccines,” he said. “I once again suggest that people be vaccinated as soon as possible to gain immunity.”
The relatively low rate of vaccinations in China was one of the reasons Feng mentioned was to keep up with current travel arrangements. He also noted concerns about the effectiveness of new vaccines against the virus.
China itself has been vaccinated and infected, the only recent case of coronavirus spreading at home.
According to Chinese media reports, the man, who works in a hospital virus testing laboratory in Xi’an, received the second vaccine in early February. They did not say which vaccine the person took.
China has been without a local case for 31 days, until the incident was reported on Thursday. This has caused concern in China about domestic vaccines.
Wang Huaking, immunization expert at China CDC, says the vaccines failed to prevent the infection in a small number of cases. He said the latest case was being investigated to find out why the vaccine failed.
Associated Press video producer Olivia Hang Ang contributed to this report.