China touts vaccination progress as it seeks reopening path; encourages booster shots for seniors

China touts vaccination progress as it seeks reopening path; encourages booster shots for seniors

China says progress has been made in vaccinating elderly population

BEIJING — Mainland China announced significant progress Tuesday in getting Covid-19 booster shots for people “over age 80.”

As of Monday, 65.8% of that age category had received booster shots, an official told reporters.

That’s up from 40% as of Nov. 11, according to prior disclosures.

China also announced a new push to get its elderly population further vaccinated for Covid-19.

An official said at a press conference that vaccination is still effective in preventing severe illness and death, and that the elderly are among the biggest beneficiaries.

The document did not provide specific details on how authorities would go about vaccinating more people.

Analysts have said that getting a greater share of the population vaccinated would help put China on the path to reopening. Only China-made vaccines are locally available so far.

The Covid vaccination rate for older people in China is generally below that of the U.S. and Singapore.

China pushes for vaccination among elderly population

Tuesday’s announcement and press conference followed a weekend of unrest as pockets of people in cities across China vented their frustration with Covid policy. Local officials had tightened measures in some areas, in contrast with signals from Beijing earlier in the month that suggested China was on its way toward reopening.

The weekend demonstrations weighed on market sentiment in Asia on Monday. There were no indications of subsequent protests amid heightened security.

Mainland China’s latest Covid controls have negatively affected 25.1% of national GDP as of Monday, according to a Nomura model. That’s above the prior peak of 21.2% recorded in April during the lockdown in Shanghai.

When asked in English whether China was reconsidering its Covid policy after the protests, an official simply said they have been monitoring the virus’ development, without further elaboration.

The country reported for Monday the first drop in daily local infections in more than a week.