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Slow vaccination rates lead to emergence of new coronavirus strains, Chinese expert says

The slow rates of vaccination against the coronavirus infection increase the risks of new strains spreading worldwide, head of Shanghai’s COVID-19 clinical expert team Zhang Wenhong stated.

"Most of the world has not yet been vaccinated. Even in countries with abundant supplies, the vaccination rate might hardly reach the level of herd immunity level that will effectively block transmission," the South China Morning Post newspaper quoted the expert as saying. "Vaccine roll-out is not fast enough and the possibility of the virus mutating and escaping [protection from the vaccines] is increasing," he added.

On May 14, China’s epidemiological control agency for the first time in the last three weeks detected several local cases of the coronavirus infection. The infections were confirmed in eastern Anhui Province and northeastern Liaoning Province.

In all, currently, the country is registering 291 active cases of the disease with one patient in a serious condition. The vast majority of the infected (259 people) returned to China from abroad. Additionally, 347 asymptomatic carriers of the coronavirus infection are being observed by doctors.

According to China’s National Health Commission, over 406.9 mln jabs against the coronavirus infection had already been administered in China, yet the agency does not specify the number of inoculated citizens. China has already developed six vaccines against the coronavirus infection ready to be placed on the market: four inactivated ones, an adenovirus-based shot and a recombinant protein vaccine.

According to China’s leading epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan, by June the government will be able to inoculate about 40% of Chinese residents, that is, approximately 560 mln out of more than 1.4 bln people.

[Source: Tass, Shanghai, 17May21]

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