China races to vaccinate elderly, but many are reluctant

BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities are going door-to-door, paying people over the age of 60 to get vaccinated against COVID-19. But as the cases increaseLi Liansheng, 64, said his friends are scared by stories of fever, blood clots and other side effects.

“When people hear about these stories, they may not want to get vaccines,” said Lee, who was vaccinated before COVID-19. A few days into her 10-day bout with the virus, Lee has a sore throat and cough. He said it was like a “normal cold” with a mild fever.

China has joined other countries in trying to stem the spread of the virus by lifting or easing testing, quarantine and movement restrictions as it tries to reverse the economic downturn. But the shift flooded hospitals with feverish, writhing patients.

On November 29, the National Health Commission announced a campaign to increase vaccination rates among elderly Chinese, which health professionals believe is critical to avoiding a health crisis. It is also the biggest obstacle to the ruling Communist Party lifting the last of the world’s strictest anti-virus restrictions.

China has kept the number of cases down for two years with a “zero-Covid” strategy that has isolated cities and locked millions of people in their homes. Now he refused such a relationshipit is facing a widespread epidemic that other countries have experienced.

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The Health Commission has recorded just six COVID-19 deaths this month, bringing the country’s official toll to 5,241. This is despite the fact that relatives have been killed several times by their families.

China only counts deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure A health official said last week on his official COVID-19 numbers. This unusually narrow definition excludes many deaths that other countries have attributed to COVID-19.

Experts predict 1 to 2 million deaths in China by the end of 2023.

Exercising in the leafy grounds of Beijing’s central Temple of Heaven, Li said he was considering taking a second shot at the PR campaign: “Once we know the vaccine won’t cause major side effects, we should take it. .”

Quarterly committees, the lowest level of government, were tasked with finding everyone over the age of 65 and monitoring their health. They persuaded residents to vaccinate their elderly relatives in what state media called an “ideological act.”

In China’s capital, Beijing, the Lulidong district offers people over 60 a two-dose vaccination course and one vaccination course for 500 yuan ($70).

The National Health Commission announced on December 23 that the number of people vaccinated every day across the country has doubled to 3.5 million. But that’s still only a fraction of the tens of millions of shots being fired every day in early 2021.

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Older people are also being spared the potential side effects of Chinese-made vaccines, for which the government has yet to release the results of testing in people over 60.

Lee’s 55-year-old friend said he developed a fever and blood clots after the vaccination. He says they can’t believe the bullet was the culprit, but his friend doesn’t want another one.

“It is also said that the virus mutates“, Lee said. “How do we know that the vaccines we receive are beneficial?”

Some have diabetes, heart disease and other health problems and are reluctant to get vaccinated, despite being warned that it is urgent because the risk of COVID-19 is more serious than the vaccine’s side effects in almost everyone.

The 76-year-old man, who walks around the Temple of Heaven every day with the help of a cane, said he wants to be vaccinated but has diabetes and high blood pressure. The man, who would only give his surname Fu, said he was wearing a mask and tried to avoid the crowd.

Older individuals were also considered less urgent because there were fewer cases of infection before the last breeding. Until now, the lack of infections has left China with only a few people who have developed antibodies against the virus.

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“Now the families and relatives of the elderly need to explain to them that the infection can cause serious illness and even death,” said Jiang Shibo of Fudan University Medical School in Shanghai.

According to the National Health Commission, more than 90% of people in China are vaccinated, but only two-thirds of those over 80 are. According to the 2020 census, China has 191 million people aged 65 and over – a group that alone would surpass Bangladesh as the eighth most populous country.

“Coverage rates for people over 80 still need to be improved,” Shanghai news agency The Paper reported. “Older people are at higher risk.”

Du Ming’s son arranged to vaccinate a 100-year-old man whose caretaker, Li Zhuqing, was pushing a masked Du through the park in a wheelchair. Lee agreed to this method because none of the family members were infected, meaning they could pass the disease on to Doo.

Health officials rejected journalists’ requests to visit vaccination centers. Two employees who briefly entered the centers were ordered to leave after learning their identities.

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AP researcher Yu Bing and video producers Olivia Zhang and Wayne Zhang contributed.

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