How China got its Covid policy wrong as millions shunned local vaccine Business

Based on the case fatality rate in Hong Kong, Bloomberg Intelligence estimated that a month-long Chinese outbreak could lead to between 31,000 and 250,000 deaths.

“China’s vaccination policy, especially for people over 50, is a real problem,” says Professor Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. “They still have more people 60 and older not fully vaccinated than all the people who live in Japan.

“Both of their vaccines offer protection against severe disease, hospitalization and death after three doses, but are inferior to the results of a similar number of mRNA or adenovirus vector vaccines. They will not stop omicron with their current policies.

Domestic politics is also driving the unwavering pursuit of zero-Covid.

Professor Steve Tsang of the foreign policy think tank Chatham House believes the situation is likely to drag on until the end of 2022, when the Chinese Communist Party is expected to hold its 20th annual congress.

Admitting the zero-Covid policy was wrong would be a great loss of face for Xi — especially when diplomats and state media trumpet China’s seemingly low death rates daily. Official figures suggest fewer than 5,000 people have died from Covid, compared to almost a million in the United States.

“Zero-Covid is Xi’s policy,” says Professor Tsang. “Xi doesn’t make mistakes and you can’t see him making mistakes. So when it comes to China, it’s the best policy and it shows how superior it is to the West.

“This cannot be changed unless Xi decides otherwise. We already know that some high-level Chinese medical and health services are uneasy and that there are political leaders who believe that the politics should not last any longer,” he adds.

“But they can’t change it because changing it means challenging the big boss – and there’s nothing more dangerous you can do in Chinese politics than to say Xi Jinping is wrong.”

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This notice was published: 2022-04-26 05:00:00

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