Editorial Notes

Vaccine plan no excuse for letting guard down: China Daily

The paper says that once an infection is spotted, a whole city is likely to be affected for at least two weeks or even longer.

China has five coronavirus vaccines in the final stages of development. PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (CHINA DAILY/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Although only one local novel coronavirus infection was reported on Saturday (Dec 19), along with 22 imported cases, the vaccination plan unveiled by the State Council, the country's Cabinet, that day has still triggered a nationwide sense of relief and expectancy.

Although the virus has been tamed for months in the country, it has never been free of the threat of its resurgence, as the number of imported infections has been on a sharp increase with the worsening of the pandemic overseas, and local infections have appeared in various parts of the country since the end of the national day holiday on Oct 7, when the country had not seen local infections over the previous consecutive 53 days.

The sources of some of these domestic infections remain unknown.

Were it not for the prompt actions taken by local authorities, the strict screening at customs and the pandemic measures normalised in the society, it would have been all too easy for the virus to stage a comeback.

But clearly, there are some people, such as medical workers, who face higher risks of being infected. That's why it is necessary, as the vaccination plan indicates, for those doing certain jobs to be inoculated first, so that they are better protected.

Workers in the cold chain industry, customs, healthcare, markets and public transport will be the first to receive a vaccination as part of the country's step-by-step vaccination program.

Statistics of the National Health Commission show that more than 1 million dozes of domestically made Covid-19 vaccines have been used at home since the country began inoculating people against the virus in July, and none of those inoculated have shown any serious adverse reactions.

After more frontline workers are inoculated, the chances of the virus infecting them and then being transmitted to others close to them, as has occurred with some cases related to imported infections, will be greatly reduced.

Although all of the flare-ups in the country have been swiftly extinguished, the costs and input behind these firefighting efforts are tremendous, as once an infection is spotted, a whole city is likely to be affected for at least two weeks or even longer as the close contacts of the infected are traced and the transmission chains cut.

As the production of the vaccines is ramped up, more people will have access to them, with elderly people with chronic diseases the next priority group.

The start of a step-by-step nationwide inoculation program is undoubtedly a positive development, but the nation can still not relax its vigilance and all pandemic control measures must be maintained.

The vaccines are extra protection, not a magic bullet.

China Daily is a member of The Straits Times media partner Asia News Network, an alliance of 23 news media organisations.

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