China may reopen its borders by next spring if enough people have been vaccinated against Covid-19, according to a medical specialist. Speaking to state broadcaster CCTV on Sunday, Zhang Wenhong, head of Shanghai’s Covid-19 clinical team, added that China risks falling behind other countries when it comes to reopening its borders if inoculation targets are not met.
Source: Artur Tumasjan
The Chinese government has pledged to inoculate 40 percent of the population by June and between 70 and 80 percent by the end of the year in order to achieve herd immunity. As of Monday, 142 million doses had been administered, according to the National Health Commission. But while the absolute number is high, it equates to less than 10 percent of the overall population.
Five locally-produced vaccines have been approved for general or emergency use in China, but many locals are reluctant to take them. Some, having seen vaccine scandals in the past, are wary of taking the Chinese options, all of which are yet to pass stage three clinical trials or receive approval from the WHO. Others simply do not see the urgency given China’s low Covid cases and tight border controls. In March, a survey of almost 1.8 million Shanghai residents found only half were interested in getting vaccinated.
While Covid-19 has largely been brought under control in China, 15 new locally transmitted cases were reported in the city of Ruili in Yunnan this week. China’s leading infectious disease expert Zhong Nanshan said the country’s low case numbers actually make residents more vulnerable to the virus as so few people have achieved natural immunity. “If most people are not immunized when China opens up, it will be very risky and outbreaks might surge,” he told Ifeng.com.
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Keywords: Chinese study covid antibodies
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