Shanghai residents who need to travel overseas for personal reasons will be able to make reservations for COVID-19 vaccine inoculation beginning on Thursday, the municipal government announced on Wednesday.
Permanent residents scheduled to travel overseas for study or work before Spring Festival, which falls on Feb 12, can make appointments through the Healthy Cloud app set up by the Shanghai Municipal Health Commission.
Expatriates are not eligible for the vaccinations at present, the government said.
After making a reservation, a person intending to travel should go to a community health center for inoculation at the appointed time and show their passport, visas, flight tickets and ID card.
Seventeen community health centers across the city have been designated to provide the service.
Based on the principle of protecting the health of citizens traveling overseas, the vaccines will be provided for free, the government said. The new measure will also apply to those needing to travel to Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan.
The government said people aged between 18 and 59 are eligible for the domestic inactivated vaccine. The vaccination involves two shots, administered 14 days apart.
"Tests on various types of variants of the COVID-19 virus as well as the virus strains from the United States, United Kingdom, Russia and Austria showed that the specific antibody recognition ability of the inactivated vaccine was not affected," the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention said in a public notice.
"Its protectiveness works against mutated virus strains and those originating in other countries. Evidence has proved that the protection from the vaccination can last for half a year or longer."
An internet user going by the penname Zcl left a comment on the Shanghai government post announcing the measure. "What great news! My child will depart for the UK for studies before Spring Festival," they said. "Our family will feel much more reassured about his health now that he will be leaving after receiving the vaccine shots."
The city government also said on Wednesday that eight types of people, including those who work in international and domestic transportation, medical workers and government department workers, have been designated as key groups to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.
Cargo handlers and workers at entry ports that faced infection risks from imported virus were inoculated by the end of last month.
As of Monday, 326,000 people in Shanghai had received the vaccine and no severe abnormal reactions had been reported. Vaccine inoculations for all eight types of people are scheduled to be completed by Feb 5.