Story at a glance
- China is aiming to administer the first dose of the vaccine to 50 million people before Jan. 15 and the second shot by Feb. 5.
- Lunar New Year festivities begin on Feb. 11.
- Health officials in Israel are working to secure more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as the country has inoculated a higher proportion of its population than any other country and is running low on supply.
China has kicked off an ambitious effort to vaccinate 50 million people against the coronavirus ahead of next month's Lunar New Year, after the country recently approved its home-grown COVID-19 vaccine for general use.
The program is prioritizing key groups of front line workers, including workers in hospitals, public service, delivery, transportation and utility, as well as people whose jobs require them to travel overseas. Millions of people in priority groups had already received shots of the vaccine before it was approved by regulators from state-backed pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm as part of an “urgent use” push, according to The Washington Post.
China is aiming to administer the first dose of the vaccine to 50 million people before Jan. 15 and the second shot by Feb. 5, ahead of the Lunar New Year festivities that begin on Feb. 11. The holiday is considered to be the world’s largest annual human migration, as hundreds of millions of people in the country leave their cities to visit family in more rural parts of the country.
Chinese authorities are under pressure to carry out the vaccinations before the Lunar New Year travel rush after the holiday was disrupted last year when Wuhan, China, was the epicenter of the outbreak. Last year, about 1.5 billion trips were made over the holiday, about half the normal number of trips, as people sheltered in place amid the outbreak, The Washington Post reports.
Local media reported Monday that Beijing vaccinated 73,537 people across more than 200 vaccination sites in the first two days of the new year.
The vaccine was granted approval on Dec. 31. Clinical studies have shown the vaccine to be nearly 80 percent effective.
Meanwhile in Israel, health officials are working to secure more doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as the country has inoculated a higher proportion of its population than any other country and is running low on supply. Israel is administering doses to about 150,000 people a day and has reached 12 percent of its population with the first dose since Dec. 20, The Washington Post reports.
This comes as officials behind the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed acknowledged the U.S. has experienced a lag in getting the vaccine into the arms of Americans.
More than 13 million COVID-19 doses have been distributed across the country with more than 4.2 million people receiving the first dose as of Jan. 2, according to the CDC.
That number is far below the Trump administration’s goal of administering the first dose to 20 million Americans before Jan 1.
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