Beijing plans to fully vaccinate 40 percent of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people by the end of this month.
China has announced that more than 1 billion doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered in the country, as the world’s most populous nation accelerated its immunization program.
The announcement by the National Health Commission (NHC) comes after the number of injections given globally surpassed 2.5 billion on Friday, according to an AFP tally from official sources.
The NHC did not say how many people had been vaccinated. As elsewhere, most vaccines in China are given in two doses.
The pace of vaccinations has accelerated in the country of 1.4 billion people after a slow start. The total number of doses administered doubled from 500 million in less than a month, according to government figures.
Lack of transparency and past vaccine scandals have also sparked resistance from residents.
Authorities have set an ambitious goal of fully vaccinating 40 percent of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people by the end of this month.
Incentives for vaccines
Some provinces are offering vaccines for free to encourage people to roll up their sleeves. Residents of the central province of Anhui received free eggs, while some living in Beijing received shopping vouchers.
A recent outbreak of the most contagious Delta variant of the virus in the southern city of Guangzhou has also served as a wake-up call for many shufflers.
China reported 23 new cases of coronavirus on Sunday.
The country has four conditionally approved vaccines, whose published efficacy rates lag behind rival hits from Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have success rates of 95 percent and 94 percent, respectively.
China’s Sinovac previously said that trials of its injection in Brazil showed about 50 percent effectiveness in preventing infections and 80 percent in preventing cases requiring medical intervention.
Sinopharm’s two vaccines have efficacy rates of 79 percent and 72 percent respectively, while CanSino’s overall efficacy is 65 percent after 28 days.
Regulators have not approved any non-Chinese vaccines so far, although they appear to be moving to do so for the one developed by Pfizer and BioNTech.
China is expected to produce more than three billion doses of vaccines this year, the state-run Xinhua news agency reported in April.
Health authorities have not said when China will achieve herd immunity or what proportion of its vaccine doses will be sold abroad.