National Health Commission responds on concerns about a third dose for people with high risk
Is it necessary to take the COVID-19 booster dose and are there any suggestions on traveling during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays?
These are some of the questions that are being raised currently. Here are the answers from the National Health Commission, which held a press conference recently.
Q: How many people have been vaccinated? What's the arrangement for the next stage?
A: Over 2.11 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered in China as of September 6. More than 1.09 billion people, or 77.6 percent of the country's total population, had received at least one dose, and over 969.7 million people had been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by the end of September 6.
Nearly 162.3 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered among minors aged between 12 and 17.
Q: Are there any tips when traveling during the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival and National Day holidays?
A: Avoid gathering and parties, particularly large-scale groupings.
Prevent visiting medium- and high-risk areas. Those from medium- and high-risk areas cannot travel outside.
People should take precautions during their tour, such as wearing masks, washing hands often, and maintaining social distance.
Q: What's the latest progress on the development of China's COVID-19 vaccines?
A: China's vaccines fall into five technical categories: inactivated vaccines, adenovirus-based vaccines, recombinant protein vaccines, live attenuated influenza vaccines, and nucleic acid-based vaccines.
All of the COVID-19 vaccines developed by China, including both those currently in use and those pending approval, are undergoing clinical trials.
So far, three inactivated vaccines have been approved by the National Medical Products Administration and have been applied. Two others have been approved for emergency use.
One recombinant protein vaccine has been authorized for emergency use, and eight are under clinical tests.
One adenovirus-based vaccine was approved for conditional marketing. For live attenuated influenza vaccines and nucleic acid-based vaccines, including an mRNA vaccine and a DNA vaccine, clinical trials are also conducted and the vaccines are expected to carry out phase-3 trials overseas.
Q: Can people with high risk of exposure to COVID-19 virus take the third dose?
A: Experts have suggested that these groups of people take a booster dose based on scientific data. Relevant research is under way.
Meanwhile, research on sequential immunization is also being conducted.
Q: Are China's inactivated vaccines effective against the Delta strain?
A: China's inactivated vaccines have been used globally, covering mass groups, and have proved effective in the prevention of COVID-19, which is particularly obvious over the prevention of severe cases and death, even amid the widespread presence of the Delta strain.
However, it is impossible for any vaccine to have 100 percent protection effect against infectious disease.
A vaccine is an effective weapon against virus and vaccination is necessary.
Pharmaceutical companies have completed pre-clinical research of vaccines targeting the Gamma and Delta strains of COVID-19, and some have submitted clinical trial applications.
In addition, there is also research and development ongoing regarding adenovirus vaccines and nucleic acid-based vaccines against the Beta and Delta strains. Some drug makers have also completed animal effectiveness and safety experiments and are preparing to apply for clinical trials.
Q: Has there been any progress on interprovincial vaccination information sharing?
A: The National Health Commission is actively promoting the national immunization planning information system in order to share vaccination data across provinces.
For areas that are not connected to the interprovincial vaccine sharing system, a paper version of the vaccination certificate is required when an individual receives his or her second dose.
Q: Can people who have recently taken other vaccines, such as HPV, rabies or zoster vaccines, receive COVID-19 vaccines?
A: If people have taken other vaccines recently, it is advisable to get the COVID-19 vaccines 14 days after the previous inoculation.
If people have received the COVID-19 vaccine, the suggestion for a 14-day interval still holds if they want to take other vaccines. However, if people need a vaccine for things such as rabies, tetanus and immune globulin after injuries, they don't have to wait.
Q: Any post-vaccination advice?
A: People can continue with their normal lives but they should get more rest to avoid overexertion. It is also suggested to have a light diet, drink plenty of water, and keep the skin around the inoculation area clean. It's advisable to avoid strenuous exercise within a week after vaccination.
Even after the shot, people should take proper personal protection measures, including wearing masks, washing hands regularly and keeping social distance.
Q: Are there any adverse reactions after receiving the vaccine?
A: Based on the results of preliminary clinical trials of the vaccines and information collected during their use, adverse reactions to COVID-19 vaccines are similar to those of other widely-used vaccines. These include redness, swelling and pain at the site of injection, fever, fatigue, nausea, headaches and muscle pain.
These symptoms go away for most people without medical intervention. If necessary, people can contact the vaccination sites for instructions on treatment.
Q: For whom is it advisable not to take the vaccine?
A: The contraindications for inoculation in children aged 12 to 17 are the same with those for adults. The following groups should ideally not take the vaccine:
1. People who are allergic to any vaccine substances or substances used in the production of vaccines, or who are allergic to similar vaccines.
2. People who have shown serious allergic reactions to vaccines in the past, such as acute allergies, expiratory dyspnea and angioneurotic edema.
3. People who have epilepsy or other nervous-system diseases, such as transverse myelitis, Guillain-Barre syndrome and demyelinating diseases.
4. People with fevers, acute diseases, serious chronic diseases, and those who are in the acute stage of a chronic disease.
5. Other contraindications listed on descriptions of the vaccines.