Vaccinating senior citizens crucial
The issue of vaccinating senior citizens against COVID-19 came up repeatedly at a recent news conference of China's anti-epidemic authorities.
Given that most senior citizens have underlying medical conditions, vaccination can effectively reduce the risk of severe illness and death. Some progress has been made in China's vaccination campaign against COVID-19 among the elderly. According to statistics, more than 264 million people aged above 60 in China have received COVID-19 vaccines, more than 212 million of them having completed the full course. However, more than 50 million senior citizens－which is equivalent to the population of a medium-sized country－still have not been fully vaccinated.
Therefore, the authorities must step up vaccination of senior citizens, given that COVID-19 cases are rising around the world, and the number of new infection cases in China, remains high, increasing risks for those senior citizens who have not been fully vaccinated.
Infection with COVID-19 puts senior citizens at a higher risk of severe illness and death. In Hong Kong, for example, more than 6,000 people aged between 11 months and 112 years (the median age being 86) have died since the outbreak; nearly 90 percent of them were not vaccinated.
That severe cases and deaths caused by COVID-19 have mainly been reported among the elderly also means that only by increasing the vaccine cover for senior citizens, can the safety net be tightened more effectively.
However, because of concerns about old age, weak health and chronic diseases, some senior citizens are reluctant to get vaccinated.
But there is no reason for that, as according to an analysis of monitoring results, incidences of adverse reactions among people aged over 60 years who have received COVID-19 vaccinations were lower than in other age groups. In the face of the dual risks of imported COVID-19 cases and the spread of cases from key domestic infection areas, local governments should continue to advance COVID-19 vaccinations in an orderly manner and strengthen the weak links to build a solid defense barrier of mass epidemic prevention and control.