Chart of the Day: China's COVID-19 vaccination drive hits 2 billion mark
China had administered more than 2 billion coronavirus vaccine doses by Thursday, according to the National Health Commission (NHC), accounting for 40 percent of the 5 billion shots given globally.
It is probable that China will reach 80-percent coverage for COVID-19 vaccines by the end of this year, achieving herd immunity, the country's top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said in a virtual speech at a health conference last Friday.
"The efficacy of Chinese vaccines is around 70 percent. Only if more than 80 percent of the country's entire population are vaccinated, can it establish herd immunity effectively."
China started giving emergency vaccinations in July 2020. On December 15, 2020, China officially announced the start of a mass vaccination program, beginning with high-risk groups, including medical workers, people who work or study overseas and cold-chain industry employees.
China reached its first 100 million shots on March 27.
Since late March, China has significantly accelerated the promotion of free vaccinations for its whole population.
Access to vaccinations was gradually expanded to the elderly, children and the general public to reach larger-scale immunity.
Currently, there are seven types of COVID-19 vaccines approved for use in China.
Sinopharm and Sinovac have emerged as China's leading COVID-19 vaccines, both within the country and abroad. Both have been approved for emergency use by the World Health Organization.
CanSino's vaccine, the only single-dose vaccine approved in China, has been rolled out in Shanghai and east China's Zhejiang and Anhui provinces, and central China's Henan and Hunan provinces.
China is able to produce 5 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines per year and only needs half of them to vaccinate its 1.4 billion people. This means China can provide the world with a large number of vaccines, said Tao Lina, a Shanghai-based vaccine expert.
So far, China has provided about 800 million doses of vaccines to more than 100 countries around the world, mostly developing countries, becoming a leading provider of COVID-19 vaccines.
China vowed earlier this month to make efforts to provide the world with 2 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines this year and donate $100 million to COVAX to promote global vaccine provision.