Caixin
Mar 23, 2021 03:27 PM
CHINA

China Needs 80% Vaccination Rate for Herd Immunity, Expert Says

What’s new: Zhang Wenhong, director of the infectious disease department at Shanghai’s Huashan Hospital, said that China would need to vaccinate 80% of its population to reach herd immunity, higher than the usually mentioned 70% threshold.

“A 90% vaccination rate is an important threshold for epidemic control, but 80% is the minimum requirement,” he told a forum in Shanghai on Saturday.

Zhang cited a recent study published in medical journal The Lancet that 6.9% of residents had developed coronavirus antibodies in Wuhan, 82% of which were asymptomatic cases.

With a positive antibodies rate as low as 6.9%, there is serious risk of the infection spreading if the population is not vaccinated, he said.

He warned that China risks a resurgence of the disease in the future if vaccinations are not in place, adding that infection rates will increase in the future if China does not vaccinate its residents fast enough.

Why it matters: China is aiming to vaccinate 40% of its population by June, according to top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan. Zhang Wenhong had previously warned that China’s pace of vaccination is of “great concern.”

China had administered nearly 75 million doses of coronavirus vaccine by the end of Saturday, the country’s health ministry said Sunday.

Herd immunity occurs when a high percentage of the community is immune to a disease through vaccination and/or prior illness, making the spread of the disease from person to person unlikely. However, the exact threshold for achieving herd immunity for Covid-19 is not known, according to the World Health Organization.

Quick Takes are condensed versions of China-related stories for fast news you can use.

Contact editor Marcus Ryder (marcusryder@caixin.com)

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