China has finally announced plans to inoculate the COVID-19 vaccine to its senior citizens aged 60 and above but they would be provided only one jab without a booster as it is not recommended for now, a media report said on Tuesday.
According to China’s National Health Commission, (NHC) over 110 million people have been given COVID-19 vaccines in China so far but only for people between 18 to 59 years. People above 59 years are yet to be given the jabs, state-run Global Times reported.
China also says it has shipped 100 million vaccines abroad but yet to vaccinate its elderly.
China’s population of 60 years and above crossed 260 million, according to official data released recently.
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NHC in its first official COVID-19 vaccination guidelines on Monday, suggesting seniors aged 60 and above get inoculated as current clinical research data showed that vaccination is safe for senior citizens.
It also noted COVID-19 vaccine booster shots are not recommended for now, the report said.
The guidelines also noted it is not recommended for people under the age of 18 to get vaccinated for now.
The guidelines suggested seniors aged 60 and above should get vaccinated, saying that the data from Phase I and Phase II clinical studies of four conditionally approved vaccines showed that vaccination is safe for this group, even though there is no data on the protective efficacy of the vaccines yet, it said.
Compared with people aged 18-59, the neutralizing antibody titer of senior citizens after vaccination is slightly lower, but the seroconversion rate of neutralizing antibodies is similar, the guidelines said.
China has authorised five COVID-19 vaccines for conditional marketing or emergency use, including three inactivated vaccines, one adenovirus vector vaccine, and one recombinant protein sub-unit vaccine
Although booster shots are still not suggested, Zhang Yuntao, a vice president and chief scientist of China National Biotec Group, a Sinopharm subsidiary told the media on Sunday that the group has designed COVID-19 booster shots to effectively improve the durability of antibodies, the report said.