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Vaccination key to winning virus fight: China Daily editorial

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2021-04-19 20:37
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People are vaccinated at medical centers in Beijing's Xicheng district, on Jan 3, 2021. [Photo by Fang Fei/For chinadaily.com.cn]

The death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic surpassed 3 million on Saturday and the total number of infections has reached nearly 140 million worldwide. What makes the situation worse is the fact that the increase in the number of deaths has been accelerating since the outbreak of the pandemic. It took 10 months for the death toll to reach 1 million, but took only five months for the number of deaths to reach 2 million and only two months for the figure to surpass 3 million.

There is no sign that the accelerated death rate will be reversed any time soon. The number of new infections in India on Sunday was 261,500, the highest daily increase in a single country since the outbreak. And the number of deaths from the pandemic in India has reached 177,150.

The lack of vaccines is primarily responsible for the rapid increase of infections worldwide in recent days, according to the World Health Organization. There is no doubt that timely vaccination is the way to build herd immunity against the virus.

Now a total of 814 million doses of vaccines have been administered worldwide, according to the WHO. However, the vaccination distribution is so unbalanced that some developing countries have not even started vaccination yet. The balanced and fair distribution of vaccines has become a hard nut to crack for the international community.

Apart from providing vaccines for as many countries and international organizations as possible, China is accelerating its own vaccination pace. The country had administered 187 million doses of vaccines by Friday. But it is still a far cry from the amount needed to build herd immunity, which requires at least 70 percent of the population to be vaccinated. China will hopefully achieve that goal in the middle of next year.

China has done an exemplary job in containing the spread of the novel coronavirus by adopting strict prevention and control measures. However, lifting border restrictions without herd immunity will expose the entire country to the danger of another outbreak of the pandemic.

With China's manufacturing capacity of 5 million vaccine doses a day, it has no problem in meeting the needs of all those eligible in its population to be vaccinated. Now it is of great urgency for the government to encourage and drive home the necessity for every citizen to realize how important it is to be vaccinated against the virus.

China will fight on both fronts — vaccination of its own people for herd immunity and providing as many doses of vaccines as possible to those countries in urgent need of vaccines. That is how it is contributing to the global fight to terminate the pandemic as early as possible.

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