BEIJING, December 1 (TMTPOST) — China will push vaccination among its senior citizens, especially those above 80, the National Health Commission (NHC) has announced.
The timetable came as Covid-19 cases soared in the past month across the country. The number of new confirmed COVID-19 cases on a daily basis surged to around 4,000 over the past week .
“We need to continuously optimize and improve prevention and control measures,” Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who leads covid response efforts, said at a meeting on Tuesday.
The NHC also shortened the gap between the first booster shot and the completion of the initial course of vaccines to three months from half a year, according to the newly releaseed Covid-19 prevention plan for the elderly.
The plan laid out six vaccines and combinations for booster immunization. The approved inactivated vaccines for emergency use, including the inhaled vaccine developed by CanSino Biologics Inc., were also listed in the plan. The decision sent the company’s stock soaring 6.2 percent to 103.5 HKD on the same day.
To fight vaccine hesitancy among the seniors, the NHC encouraged local governments to utilize big data from demographic archives, social security, medical insurance and resident health records to identify those above 60 that are in need of vaccination. Social media channels popular among the elderly will also be used to promote vaccine awareness.
The top epidemic prevention body has been vowing to push shots harder for people over 60 years old. In July, NHC said room for improvement lied in increasing the inoculation rate among seniors above 80 and the booster shot inoculation rate for all senior citizens.
From November 20 to 21, Beijing reported three Covid-19 deaths, the first deaths in China since May 26. They were all aged over 80 years old with underlying health conditions.
In China, Covid-19 vaccination is not mandatory in China although vaccincation was a requirement to visit a public place for some time. The government mainly uses incentives including gifts to encourage voluntary vaccination among the elderly.