Health Care

Large-scale coronavirus vaccination not necessary in China, official reportedly says

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A top health official in China said effective measures have controlled the domestic epidemic, and a large-scale vaccination program is not necessary at this stage, per a report.

“This is a question of balance between risks and benefits,” Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told reporters on Sept.12, according to state-owned news agency China News Service.

Director-general of Chinese Disease Control and Prevention Gao Fu speaks during a news conference on prevention and control of the new coronavirus related pneumonia in Beijing, China January 22, 2020.

Director-general of Chinese Disease Control and Prevention Gao Fu speaks during a news conference on prevention and control of the new coronavirus related pneumonia in Beijing, China January 22, 2020.
(Jason Lee/Reuters)

“Since the first wave of the new crown epidemic in Wuhan, China has already survived the impact of the new crown epidemic several times,” Gao Fu said, per the agency.

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When virus infections emerged in outbreaks in China’s northeast, Beijing, Xinjiang and other areas later on, the nation “already had mature and effective comprehensive response measures” to contain the spread, the agency wrote.

“Facts have proved that we have several magic weapons to deal with the epidemic,” Gao Fu said, like fast identification of infected individuals, contact tracing and “effective elimination of related environments,” per China News Service.

He reportedly said that if an epidemic on a scale comparable to Wuhan occurs again, then large-scale vaccination should be carried out, though for now, the news agency wrote that “the domestic epidemic is well controlled. There is no need for large-scale vaccination at this stage.”

The Chinese CDC director advised stratified vaccinations instead, prioritizing frontline workers and Chinese working overseas in areas at high-risk for the epidemic. Second-in-line should be those working in catering, security and cleaning “to ensure the basic operation of society,” he said, per the agency’s report.

A similar air of confidence was suggested last month by Wu Zunyou, a chief epidemiology expert at the Chinese CDC. On Aug. 19, Zunyou reportedly said the country is confident in its ability to control a potential COVID-19 resurgence in the coming months based on containment efforts over the last six months, per a news release from the National Health Commission (NHC) of the People’s Republic of China.

On Monday, the NHC reported just 10 new virus cases, all of which were said to be imported, across 31 provinces and the “Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps on the Chinese mainland.” Asymptomatic cases are counted separately and tallied 39, all, likewise, said to be imported.

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