Public Health

China touts vaccination progress as it looks for a path to reopening

BEIJING — Mainland China announced a new push to get its elderly population further vaccinated for Covid-19, a key hurdle to overcome before the country can reopen.

As of Monday, 65.8% of people over age 80 had completed the primary series of Covid vaccination, an official told reporters. Still, just about 40% of that group had received a booster shot as of Nov. 11, according to prior disclosures.

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An official said at a press conference that vaccination is still effective in preventing severe illness and death, and that the elderly are among the biggest beneficiaries.

The document did not provide specific details on how authorities would go about vaccinating more people.

Analysts have said that getting a greater share of the vaccinated population would help put China on the path to reopening. Only China-made vaccines are locally available so far.

China pushes for vaccination among elderly population

The Covid vaccination rate for older people in China is generally below that of the US and Singapore.

Tuesday’s announcement and press conference followed a weekend of unrest as pockets of people in cities across China vented their frustration with Covid policy. Local officials had tightened measures in some areas, in contrast with signals from Beijing earlier in the month that suggested China was on its way toward reopening.

The weekend demonstrations weighed on market sentiment in Asia on Monday. There were no indications of subsequent protests amid heightened security.

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Correction: This story was corrected to accurately describe the demographic attached to the 65.8% figure as those over 80 years old who completed their primary vaccine course. References comparing this figure to data for a different group were also corrected.

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