China protests: Why is it struggling to vaccinate the elderly?

Faced with unprecedented protests against Covid restrictions, the Chinese authorities have said they are ramping up their vaccination campaign among the elderly.

The relatively low rate of vaccination for older people is a major obstacle to China relaxing its zero-Covid strategy.

China has acknowledged it has relatively low rates of Covid vaccination among the elderly, who are most likely to get seriously ill or die from the virus compared with younger age groups.

In April this year, official data showed that only about 20% of over-80s had received two jabs plus a booster, while under 50% of the 70-79 age group fell into this category.

The latest figures from the Chinese authorities, released as lockdown protests erupted across the country, suggest a marked jump in these over-80s vaccination rates to about 40% fully vaccinated with a booster.

These Chinese vaccination rates for the elderly are significantly lower than, for example, those in the US and UK.

Figures from the UK in…

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