China hits its vaccination target

BANGKOK, 2 July 2021: China puts the vaccine rollout elsewhere in Asia in perspective as it confirms this week dose delivery hit the half-year target on Wednesday.

Global Times, an official English language media channel, reported the country had reached its goal of vaccinating about 40% of the population.

Some provinces managed to reach the target early. Northeast China’s Heilongjiang Province passed the mark on Monday, recording 3.2 million doses administered to about 1.7 million people. Other provinces like Central China’s Hunan, East China’s Anhui and South China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region also confirmed that they had finished ahead of the Wednesday target date.

According to the National Health Commission, China administered about 1.23 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines as of Tuesday. That was nearly half of the 3 billion doses administered globally.

Global Times claimed China achieved a breakneck vaccination speed, which will now make it possible for China to achieve its 2021 goal of vaccinating 70% of its population by December. If it reaches its target by year-end, it is likely China will reopen outbound travel, possibly in phases in early 2022. Thai tourism officials are optimistically claiming Chinese travellers could return to Thailand as early as this October. That is wishful thinking on their part. There are no hints or clues that would suggest an early reopening of China’s outbound travel market as the country tourism industry can prosper on dominant domestic travel demand. 

China’s vaccination success is based on the government’s strong organising and operating capacity and the growing public willingness to get vaccinated, given recent outbreaks. Once China has reached the 70% vaccination target, so-called herd immunity should kick in, and that would probably signal the gradual return of outbound travel first to Asian destinations.

But the Global Times report said: “Given the large population in China and the threat of the Delta variant, China’s top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan estimated that it would require at least 80% of Chinese people – about 1.12 billion – to be vaccinated to reach herd immunity.

China’s National Health Commission on 25 June said that more than 630 million people in China had taken at least one shot, meaning the vaccination coverage has reached over 40% of the 1.4 billion population.

Statista says: “Scientists initially estimated that 60 to 70% of a population would have to acquire resistance to Covid-19 in order for herd immunity to take effect, a threshold that has been revised upwards since the start of the year with 80 to 85% quoted in some cases. As the Delta variant of Covid-19 generates fresh concern, the race towards full vaccination has become increasingly urgent, and Israel has led the way, according to Our World in Data.” (Statista)

(Source: Leng Shumei Global Times and Statista)