Key groups vaccinated free of charge in Guangdong


180,000 high-risk individuals receive vaccines to protect their health

About 180,000 people in key groups in the most populous province of Guangdong had received free vaccines against COVID-19 by Tuesday, with no serious side effects reported.

The groups include workers involved in cold chain import logistics, quarantine sites, customs and immigration inspection, cross-border transport, healthcare, epidemic control in the first place and public transport, as well as those working or studying abroad.

They are considered risk groups and more prone to infections. Their vaccination is intended to protect their health and help control the pandemic, Duan Yufei, director of the provincial health commission, told a news conference in Guangzhou on Wednesday.

All people in key groups who are physically eligible for vaccination against COVID-19 should be vaccinated, Duan said.

Vaccinations will be extended to the general public after the vaccines are officially launched and their supply increased, he said.

Even after vaccines enter the market, the public should still implement full epidemic control measures over a longer period of time, he said.

Guangdong remains a low-risk region, and current measures have proven effective in controlling the epidemic, Duan said, adding that the province can conduct 1.45 million nucleic acid tests a day.

After the central government began work on vaccinations, Guangdong provincial authorities allocated funds, procured vaccines, distributed vaccines to sites, regulated vaccine storage, established professional conditions for formulating plans, and trained vaccination staff.

Every vaccinated person is recorded and every dose of the vaccine is traceable, he said, with medical support at vaccination sites.

Deng Huihong, director of the provincial center for disease control and prevention, said, however, that some people are currently not suitable for vaccination. These include those under the age of 18 and those over the age of 59, those who have had serious side effects after receiving other vaccines, pregnant women and those with acute illnesses, serious chronic illnesses or fever.

People who have received the COVID-19 vaccine must download a mobile phone application to report their health conditions on a daily basis for a week.

Vaccination appointments are scheduled by organizations representing key groups. Guangdong city authorities will later release information on vaccination sites to those planning to work or study abroad, Deng said.

Meanwhile, the investigation revealed that a visitor from Myanmar who was staying at the hotel infected a 31-year-old worker at a quarantine hotel in Nansha district in Guangzhou, who was confirmed as an asymptomatic carrier on Sunday, Duan said.

Strict testing and checking among relatives and management of related sites was conducted after the case was reported, and the risk of further transmission is low, he said, adding that the management of quarantine hotels across the province has been strengthened.

As the year draws to a close, Deng has encouraged organizations to hold online annual meetings. If offline meetings are necessary, invitations should not be sent to people from other provinces. Pandemic contingency contingency plans must be in place for meetings with more than 50 participants, she said.