Greater than 1 billion doses administered

A medical worker will receive the Covid-19 vaccine on April 7, 2021 at Sun Yat-sen University’s First Affiliated Hospital in Guangzhou, Guangdong Province, China.

Southern image | Visual China Group | Getty Images

GUANGZHOU, China – China has delivered more than a billion doses of its Covid-19 vaccines, a major milestone in the world’s largest vaccination drive.

As of Saturday, 1,100,489,000 doses had been administered to people in China, according to the country’s National Health Commission (NHC). More than 100 million doses were administered in the six days up to and including Saturday.

It is unclear how many people were fully vaccinated as the government does not publish these numbers. But Zhong Nanshan, one of the leading Chinese health experts at the NHC, said in March that the country is aiming to fully vaccinate 40% of the population by the end of June.

After the coronavirus outbreak in China last year, authorities tried to get it under control quickly and largely managed to reopen the economy and get life back to normal. One reason China’s vaccination campaign got off to a slow start earlier this year was because people failed to realize the urgency of vaccination.

But the campaign has now started. It took China 25 days to go from 100 million cans to 200 million cans – and just six days from 800 million to 900 million, according to state media Xinhua.

Still, there were new coronavirus outbreaks in the country last year. Since the end of May, the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou has been fighting against the delta variant that was first created in India. It is the first time this variant has been broadcast locally in mainland China.

The city reported no new locally transmitted cases on Sunday after a mass test drive and local lockdowns.

CNBC two visited vaccination sites in town earlier this month and saw long lines as people rushed to get vaccinated.

The World Health Organization has approved the Chinese-made Sinopharm since May and the Sinovac Covid-19 vaccine since June for emergencies.

China has shipped its vaccines to countries around the world including Brazil, the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia. However, US and European health officials have not approved Chinese emergency vaccines.

There were questions about the effectiveness of the vaccines made in China. The effectiveness rates for China’s Covid vaccines have been found to be lower than those developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna.

Chile, another recipient of Chinese vaccines, released the results of a real-world study of over 10 million people in April. The Sinovac vaccine was found to reduce deaths by 80%. Despite being one of the most heavily vaccinated countries in the world, Chile saw an increase in cases in April.

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