More than 2 billion COVID-19 vaccine doses had been administered in China as of Thursday, and more than 889 million people in the country have been fully vaccinated against the novel coronavirus, a health official said on Friday.
The latest COVID-19 outbreak in China has been brought under control, said Mi Feng, spokesman for the National Health Commission, at a news conference in Beijing.
The number of locally transmitted cases has been declining for 11 consecutive days in the country and the number of medium and high-risk areas had dropped to 38 as of Thursday, Mi said.
The latest outbreak shows the danger of any slackness in preventing imported infections, plugging loopholes and personal protection, while continuous efforts should be made to advance the mass vaccination campaign, he said.
Zheng Zhongwei, an official with the National Health Commission and head of China's COVID-19 vaccine development task force, said domestic COVID-19 vaccines have been effective in containing the recent outbreaks due to the contagious Delta variant in areas including Nanjing, Yangzhou and Zhengzhou.
A total of 1,388 locally transmitted cases had been reported as of Wednesday and some of them have received vaccines, he said.
However, more than 95 percent of the severe cases were those that have not been fully vaccinated and none of the severe cases in Yangzhou have been vaccinated, Zheng said.
Based on research of the outbreak in Guangdong province by renowned epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan's team, two doses of vaccines were 70 percent effective against patients with mild symptoms and 100 percent effective against patients with severe symptoms, he said.
COVID-19 booster shots are currently recommended for the elderly or immunocompromised, people planning to travel to foreign regions with surging infections and workers in high-risk sectors, Zheng said.
Whether the wider population should receive an additional dose to boost immunity is still being investigated, he added.
As the new semester approaches, the Ministry of Education said schools that do not meet the necessary requirements for COVID-19 contagion prevention and control are not allowed to open.
Local education authorities should evaluate epidemic containment efforts at each school and those that fail to meet requirements cannot begin the new semester, the ministry said.
Schools in areas classified as having medium or high risks of COVID-19 outbreaks should delay the start of the upcoming autumn semester, and students and teachers who have traveled to the regions should delay returning to schools, it said.
College teachers and students should have negative COVID-19 test results within 48 hours before returning to school.