Citizens given more choices of vaccine type for COVID-19 booster shot
Shanghai has begun offering COVID-19 booster shots with different vaccines to enhance herd immunity against the fast-mutating coronavirus.
All subdistricts and towns in the Pudong New Area have initiated the vaccination method, known as sequential immunization, according to Pudong's official WeChat account.
They are targeting people over 18 years old who are fully vaccinated with one of the three inactivated vaccines produced by Sinopharm and Sinovac Biotech.
Citizens eligible for a booster shot can now get a protein subunit COVID-19 vaccine made by Anhui Zhifei Longcom Biopharmaceutical or a viral vector vaccine from CanSino Biologics.
Research has shown that boosters with a different vaccine are more effective at improving protection against the coronavirus disease.
The antibody levels of sequential immunization in the COVID-19 booster shots will rise four times to that of three inactivated vaccines. The method is also more effective against the Omicron variant.
Pudong initiated the sequential immunization near Zhangjiang High-tech Park in late May, gathering many young tech workers who tended to choose sequential immunization, Pudong government said on Thursday.
At Zhangjiang Community Health Service Center, about 20 percent of people chose the sequential immunization for a booster shot, said Xi Chunming, an official with the center. Over 200 citizens visited the center to receive a booster jab every day.
"People might have stronger reaction, such as fever and tiredness, by taking a different vaccine for the booster shots," said Xi. "But these symptoms will disappear within one or two days."
The World Health Organization has said it supports a flexible approach to different vaccines for booster shots. Some countries in the Americas, Europe and Southeast Asia have already begun using different vaccines for their booster shot programs.
China's health authorities rolled out the sequential COVID-19 booster vaccinations in February following the approval of the State Council, or the nation's Cabinet.
Over 160 clinics across the city have reopened COVID-19 vaccination services, primarily for the elderly, as the city emerged from its long lockdown.
"The Omicron variant will be of great harm to seniors, especially those without vaccination and with underlying disease," said Zhao Dandan, deputy director of the city's health commission.
"The COVID-19 vaccines have strong effects to prevent severe symptoms and deaths," he said.
Among all the death cases during this round of COVID-19 resurgence in Shanghai, over 90 percent are unvaccinated seniors, health authority said.
Around 3.6 million residents over the age of 60 have received two jabs of COVID-19 vaccines, among whom close to 39 percent have gotten booster shots.
Meanwhile, some 16.5 million citizens, aged between 3 and 17 years, have taken two shots of the vaccine, accounting for 71.02 percent of the total.
Shanghai reported two locally transmitted COVID-19 cases and one local asymptomatic infection on Thursday. All the patients tested positive during central quarantine, according to the commission.