“Informed, consented and voluntary”: these should be the basic principles of the Covid-19 vaccine inoculation program, according to Chinese health authorities.
As reported by Chinese dailiesGlobal Times and South China Morning Postthe National Health Commission, the highest health authority in the country, pronounced on July 16 against the use of coercion as part of the vaccination campaign which continues in the country. This institution was reacting to measures to make vaccination compulsory, taken by the local governments of a dozen provinces, which sparked controversy in the country. The Commission said it intervened to provide “help” and “supervision” to governments that have taken such measures.
According to Global Times, China’s Infectious Disease Prevention and Treatment Law states that people without contraindications who are old enough to receive the vaccine should be vaccinated as much as possible, but no mandatory nature is mentioned.
However, recently, rules stipulating that unvaccinated people would be prohibited from entering public places such as hospitals, supermarkets, restaurants, places of entertainment, or public administrations, had been adopted at the local level. .
Some cities had even regulated their college campuses requiring students and their family members to be vaccinated as soon as possible, otherwise students would not be allowed to return to school in September.
The Global Times cites the example of the government of Tanghe County, in Henan Province (central China), which had asked officials, including retirees, to be vaccinated (except in cases of contraindications), for lack of what they could not work or receive their salary. The county government ultimately gave up on these measures.
Already in April, the city of Wanning, in Hainan province, restricted public transport to vaccinated people, before lifting the ban after intervention by the National Health Commission.
Nearly half of Chinese vaccinated
As the South China Morning Post, “Public health experts say such restrictions should be imposed with caution, so as not to reduce public confidence.” However, the authorities intend to continue the vaccination campaign at high speed.
As of July 16, the country had administered more than 1.4 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines, covering about half of its inhabitants. The target of 40% of the population vaccinated having been reached on June 30, China now hopes to have vaccinated 70% of its population by the end of the year.