China says will only vaccinate frontline workers "at this stage"

China says will only vaccinate frontline workers

PanARMENIAN.Net - Not everyone in China will need to get vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the country's top medical official, as Beijing looks to prioritize frontline workers and high-risk populations in a move that underscores rising confidence among policy-makers of their ability to contain the virus, CNN reports.

"Since the first wave of Covid-19 appeared in Wuhan, China has already survived the impact of Covid-19 several times," Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said at a vaccine summit in the city of Shenzhen on Saturday, according to state-run news agency China News Service.

The question of vaccinating the public was one of balancing "risks and benefits," he added, pointing to factors like cost and potential side effects. There isn't currently a need for mass vaccination at this stage -- though that could change if another serious outbreak takes place, Gao said.

The policy marks China apart from many Western governments, most notably Australia, that have outlined plans to introduce mass public vaccination drives.

China's reported virus numbers have stayed low since the spring. There have been a few flare-ups -- clusters in the northeastern Jilin province in May, an outbreak in Beijing in June, and another in the Xinjiang capital of Urumqi in July -- but these were met with immediate lockdown measures and mass testing, and the outbreaks were contained within a few weeks.

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