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Friday, December 02, 2022

Why are many elderly people unvaccinated in China when they’re a priority group in countries such as Australia?

As COVID-19 resurges across China and millions are under lockdown, Yao Yuan worries for her elderly parents, who are still unvaccinated.

Ms Yao – who lives in China’s “Silicon Valley”, Shenzhen – said her parents were deterred by “fake news” on social media, which falsely claimed the vaccines were not effective nor safe, and could spread other serious diseases.

“They sent me the WeChat article. Obviously, it is fake news. [It has] no writer, no evidence, no reference,” she said.

Because her parents live in Weifang, a city in northern China, without the vaccine’s protection, Ms Yao is concerned about their safety in this new outbreak.

“The COVID-19 outbreak is continuing to grow in [their] city. My parents are asked to be self-quarantined at home,” she said. “[They still] don’t want to get vaccinated.”

Her parents are not alone: ​​According to the National Health Commission, last month more than 44 million people over the age of 60 years remained unvaccinated in China.

That is about 17 per cent of the older population, and the vaccination rates were lower for those aged over 80 years, with around half of that cohort still yet to receive two doses of the vaccine.

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