China steps up COVID-19 vaccination, considers differentiated visa policies

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China had administered 74.96 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines as of Saturday, health commission spokesman Mi Feng said at a news briefing on Sunday.

That compared with about 65 million doses administered as of March 14, or an additional 10 million vaccinations in less in a week, as the country accelerates its inoculation drive with the aim to inoculate 40% of its 1.4 billion population by the middle of the year.

Over 70 million doses of Sinovac Biotech’s shot have been administered globally so far, a company spokesman said during the news conference on Sunday. He did not say how many of those had been administered in China.

Beijing is also considering implementing differentiated policies for visa issuance, flights and controls on the numbers of people arriving in China based on vaccination progress and the COVID-19 situations in the countries of origin.

“We do not exempt vaccinated people from testing and isolation measures for the time being,” said Feng Zijian, vice director of Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention during the news conference.

However, he said China will pay attention to international progress in “vaccine passport” development and could adjust virus curbing measures after the domestic population reaches a high level of immunisation.

China’s full-year vaccine production can fully meet the needs of entire country, said Ministry of Industry and Information Technology official Mao Junfeng.

He said the supply of materials for vaccine production, including glass vials and syringes, is “relatively stable”.

China has approved four locally developed vaccines for general public use from Sinovac, CanSino Biologics and two units of China National Pharmaceutical Group (Sinopharm).

A fifth vaccine developed by the Institute of Microbiology of Chinese Academy of Sciences (IMCAS) was also approved for emergency use last week.



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