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Prognosis

Lockdown Pain Fails to Break Elderly Vaccine Resistance in China

  • Roughly half of those aged 80 and older are immunized in China
  • Low elderly vaccination rates make it hard for China to reopen
Elderly people line up to receive a dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Guangzhou, in May 2022.
Elderly people line up to receive a dose of Covid-19 vaccine in Guangzhou, in May 2022.Photographer: Chen Yihang/VCG/Getty Images

There’s been one consistent silver lining to Covid-19 outbreaks: they trigger a surge in vaccinations that provide protection against severe infections in the future. China’s elderly are an exception.

Take Shanghai. After the financial hub emerged from a bruising two-month lockdown and vaccination clinics reopened, the number of fully immunized people aged 60 or above increased just one percentage point to 63% in mid-June, despite hundreds of deaths.