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China gives out 100m vaccine doses in five days
3 June 2021, 16:17
China stepped up its vaccine programme in May, giving out 100 million doses in just five days.
The country had a slow start in its vaccination rollout, but has since used its one-party system and maturing domestic vaccine industry to administer shots at an increased pace.
As of Wednesday, China had given out more than 704 million doses - with nearly half of those having been done in May alone.
The total is roughly a third of the 1.9 billion shots distributed globally, according to Our World in Data, an online research site.
The site also showed that China is now averaging about 19 million shots per day as a rolling seven-day average.
Vaccinations are being offered throughout the community, with companies offering shots to their employees, schools urging their students and staff to get it, and local government workers checking on their residents.
That said, the distribution is uneven so far, with 87 per cent of the capital - Beijing - having received at least one dose, but Chinese public health leaders say they are hoping to inoculate 80 per cent of the whole population (1.4 billion) by the end of the year.
Ray Yip, former country director for the Gates Foundation in China and a public health expert, said: "The Communist Party has people all the way down to every village, every neighbourhood.
"That's the draconian part of the system, but it also gives very powerful mobilisation."
Zhong Nanshan, the head of a group of experts attached to the National Health Commission and a prominent government doctor, said on Sunday that 40 per cent of the population had received at least one dose, and the aim was to get that percentage fully vaccinated by the end of the month.
Sinovac - one of the two main suppliers of the vaccine in China - has said it has doubled its production capacity to two billion doses a year, while Sinopharm has said it can make up to three billion doses a year.