Governments at all levels in China are taking a variety of measures to speed up the process of vaccinating the elderly, given the rapid spread of the Omicron variant and the threats it poses to the health of this highly vulnerable group.
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Efforts in this regard include attempts to alleviate possible reluctance of older adults towards vaccination, educate them about its effectiveness, and help people with reduced mobility to get vaccinated.
According to the National Health Commission (NHC), more than 90% of the Chinese population is fully immunized; however, the vaccination rate in the elderly population is lower than the average rate in other age groups.
The recent resurgence of COVID-19 in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) provides evidence of potential risks to older people in the event of a severe outbreak. About 95% of deaths during the fifth wave of the pandemic in this region were in people aged 60 and over.
An elderly person receives a dose of COVID-19 vaccine at a mobile COVID-19 vaccination site in Beijing. Faced with the rampant spread of the Omicron variant, governments at all levels in China are adopting multi-faceted measures to accelerate vaccination of the elderly. pic.twitter.com/Z4jPR81Stc
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April 13, 2022
Since the end of March, the Xingang community in Guangzhou has been carrying out a campaign to speed up the vaccination of the elderly. In nine days, 1,200 elderly people received the first dose of the vaccine.
Yang Zhihua, a community leader in Xingang, said a convenient vaccination site has proven to be a key factor in getting older people vaccinated. Thus, efforts are made to comfort them, Yang said. In this regard, Luo Sui, a Party official in Xingang, said the community provides free physical examinations, transportation services and gifts encouraging vaccination of the elderly.
In Beijing’s Haidian district, volunteers are assisting the elderly with the vaccination process, while in Zhejiang province, vans operating as mobile vaccination centers travel to remote villages to vaccinate the elderly.