State Council's interagency task force briefing on promoting COVID-19 vaccination

The State Council's interagency task force held a press conference on Monday in Beijing to brief the media about issues on promoting COVID-19 vaccination. March 19, 2021

Surveys show that many Chinese are willing to get inoculated with the COVID-19 vaccines, but some have hesitations about the safety of the vaccines and have showed less willingness. How will you clear people's safety-related concerns? Thank you.

Li Bin:

This is a very good question. As I just mentioned, the basic principle of inoculation of COVID-19 vaccines in our country is for people to voluntarily get inoculated with informed consent. The number of inoculations is directly related to people's willingness to get inoculated. So, we have always paid attention to this issue when conducting the vaccination task, seeing it as the priority. We have been following up and doing research regarding this issue. According to what we have learnt, inoculation willingness is influenced by many factors and shows quite large changes. At present, there are two main factors impacting inoculation willingness. One is the epidemic prevention and control situation. Our country has taken powerful and appropriate measures in this field, and as a result, the situation has been stable, generally speaking. Therefore, this makes some people think that the risk of infection is rather low and there is no need to get inoculated for additional protection for the time being. The other one is that because the COVID-19 vaccines are new to the market, some people want to see more information about the efficacy. Many people are eager to know about safety data and efficacy issues, planning to get inoculated once more knowledge of the vaccines is known. These are the two factors that have the largest impact on the issue at the moment. 

Here, I would like to share something with you. First, regarding infection risks, although China's overall situations for epidemic prevention and control currently remain stable, there remain risks of infected cases importing the virus as well as localized outbreaks among individuals and across society. For the vast majority of people, if we have no immunity against the novel coronavirus, the possibility of infection will continue to exist, and some of us will likely show severe symptoms after getting infected. Therefore, vaccination is the best way to prevent COVID-19. Vaccination can effectively protect both individuals and society, and reduce infection, severe illness, and death rates. This is therefore the main strategy to prevent and control COVID-19 in the country at present.

Second, the more people who have been vaccinated, and therefore have immunity, means that we can effectively control the spread of the novel coronavirus. Vaccination can protect not only ourselves and our families but also the rest of society.

Third, regarding the vaccination effect, all the vaccines can be used in China only after they have undergone clinical studies in line with relevant domestic regulations. They must then be approved by the national medical products authorities and pass strict verifications. In the process of storage and transportation, all vaccines must be monitored and have their temperatures recorded at regular intervals to ensure that they meet the requirements regarding temperature environment and transportation. For vaccinations, we have expanded our personnel training and asked all medical staff to strictly implement operating instructions to guarantee the effectiveness and safety of vaccines.

With the development of vaccination work, the number of vaccinated people has increased, so I believe immunity will further rise. We hope more people will actively take part in vaccinations at an early date so that we can witness the protective effect of vaccines together. Thank you.

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