China aims to vaccinate 70-80% of population by mid-2022

The head of China's Center for Disease Control says the country is aiming to vaccinate 70-80% of its population by mid-2022

BEIJING -- China is aiming to vaccinate 70-80% of its population by mid-2022, the head of the country's Center for Disease Control said Saturday.

Herd immunity occurs when enough of the population has immunity, either from vaccination or past infection, to stop the uncontrolled spread of an infectious disease like COVID-19.

Although emergency vaccinations have been underway in China since at least last summer, the country has been slow to announce whether it had any plans to achieve herd immunity.

China currently has 17 COVID-19 vaccine candidates for clinical trials.

Aside from a vaccination certificate, non-Chinese nationals just have to provide the same amount of paperwork as they would before the pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' office in Hong Kong said. It also expanded the group of people who were eligible to apply for an emergency humanitarian visit, so that those who want to visit relatives may also apply.

All other applicants had to follow existing visa procedures. It did not say that the loosened restrictions applied to those who had taken non-Chinese made vaccines.

This past week, China's Foreign Ministry launched an international travel health certificate that includes a COVID-19 test and serum antibody results, as well as vaccination and other health information. It is unclear how it will be implemented.