China lags behind in coronavirus vaccines as the disease is largely under control but plans to vaccinate 40% of its population by June, Chinese health experts said on Monday.
Ong Nansan, head of the expert group at the National Health Commission, said the country had delivered 52.52 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine as of February 28. He was speaking at an online forum of US-China medical experts. By Brookings Institution և ing Inhua University.
The target is China, which has been the first to publicly launch a mass vaccination campaign for key groups since mid-December.
China is slowly vaccinating its people compared to other countries, having vaccinated only 3.56% of its 1.4 billion population so far, according to Zhang. Israel ranks first in the world in terms of population percentage, having vaccinated more than 90% of its people. The United States has vaccinated about 22% of its population.
Chinese health experts say the country has enough vaccines for its population, although the country has pledged to provide about half a billion doses abroad, about 10 times more than it delivered home.
“The current rate of vaccinations is very low because of the outbreak (so good) in China, but I think the capacity is enough,” said Hang Wenhong, an infectious disease specialist in Shanghai, who also spoke at the panel.
The developers of the four currently approved vaccines in China say they could produce up to 2.6 billion doses by the end of this year. Still, vaccinating China’s vast population is a daunting task.
Even if 10 million people are vaccinated daily, it will take about seven months to vaccinate 70% of its population, Zhang said.
Experts all acknowledged the complexity of vaccinating the world’s population, noting the slow spread of the vaccine worldwide.
“Demand will exceed supply for many months, if not more production, for years,” said Tom Frieden, a former director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
They also warned them not to return to normal quickly.
Gao Fu, head of the China Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, predicted that life could return to “near normal” next summer.
Gao, along with other Chinese health professionals, urged more US-China cooperation. Gao specifically called on the United States and China to work together on COVAX to make vaccines more equitable in developing countries.
“Let’s work together,” he said.