China's leading epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan urged a scale-up in vaccination efforts to inoculate more people with COVID-19 vaccine booster shots, especially for the approaching Spring Festival travel rush.
During the 40-day travel season, also known as Chunyun, many Chinese people often travel to meet their families for the Chinese Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival. The 2023 Spring Festival will fall on January 22.
A significant portion of people in China have already been vaccinated against COVID-19, and getting boosted is the best protection during the new phase of the anti-virus fight, said Zhong.
"Preparations need to be beefed up. I suggest those planning to travel back home get a booster shot so that, even with COVID-19 infection, they don't become seriously ill," he said.
It usually takes two weeks for a booster to take effect, according to Zhong.
"This would be of great help in preventing large-scale transmission during the mass migration of people in the Spring Festival travel rush," the epidemiologist said.
There is a pressing need to step up vaccination efforts across the nation, he noted, asking seniors and people with underlying health conditions in particular to get vaccinated.
"If you have received two doses of inactivated vaccines, you will need another dose to be boosted."
Zhong also called for the full vaccination of children to protect schools and students, saying this is essential for resuming in-person schooling.