Authorities in China's Guangxi Link School Places to Family Vaccinations

The move is part of a nationwide bid to step up the pace of the vaccine program by imposing restrictions on those who don't get the jabs.
By Qiao Long
Authorities in China's Guangxi Link School Places to Family Vaccinations A child looks on as a woman receives a COVID-19 vaccination in Nantong, in eastern China's Jiangsu province, July 5, 2021.

Authorities in southwestern China are threatening to deny school places to children whose families haven't all been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, local residents and state-run media reported.

China has administered 1.4 billion vaccine doses, or two-fifths of the global total of 3.47 billion doses, with state media reporting in late June that around 40 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated.

However, provincial governments in Zhejiang, Jiangxi, Fujian, Shandong, Shanxi, Guangxi, Hubei, Gansu, and elsewhere have issued warnings this week of restrictions on the movements of unvaccinated people, state-owned media The Paper reported.

In the southwestern region of Guangxi, governments in Guiping and Beiliu cities are warning families that their children won't be allowed into school in the absence of a vaccine certificate, and their enrollment will be suspended.

"Family members for whom vaccination is indicated shall complete vaccination before the beginning of school," the notice said. "In principle, if vaccination isn't completed, enrollment will be suspended."

"Please hurry to the nearest vaccination center to avoid affecting your child's education," the notice, cited in The Paper, said.

A Guiping resident surnamed Chen said the policy is mandatory.

"This includes anyone in the family, and it's mandatory, because the entire family has to get vaccinated because of the child or children," Chen said.

"They are threatening people, depriving their children of their right to education to force them to get vaccinated," he said.

Governments across China have begun announcing restrictions on the movement of unvaccinated people into healthcare facilities, railway stations, shopping malls, supermarkets, farmers' markets, and tourist destinations, among other places, The Paper reported.

Some are requiring bus or taxi service providers to check passengers' vaccination status.

'Railroading people now'

Beijing current affairs commentator Li Jinping said that the health ministry claims that the COVID-19 vaccination program is voluntary.

But in practice, many local governments see boosting local uptake figures as a political task.

"They are kind of railroading people now, by linking all of the relatives together," Li said.

"If one person fails to abide by this decision of the local government, the whole family will be affected," he said.

Similar moves are afoot in Zhejiang's Qingtian county, which recently issued a directive requiring that only vaccinated people be allowed to enter government agencies, state-owned companies and institutions, medical facilities, nursing homes, kindergartens, restaurants, farmers' markets, and other public places.

Authorities in Ninghai county followed suit, with the order taking effect on July 25, while authorities in Menglian county in the southwestern province of Yunnan announced a mass PCR testing drive from July 12-14, with dance halls, karaoke parlors, bars, and theaters shut down in the county town for one week.

Healthcare workers across China will start vaccinating teenagers this month against COVID-19, beginning in Guangxi and in the central province of Hubei, with those aged 15-17 first in line, with 12-14 year-olds to follow in August, Reuters reported.

They will receive one of two homegrown vaccines, one made by Sinovac Biotech and the other by a Beijing-based company affiliated with Sinopharm, developed specifically for those aged between three and 17.

Translated and edited by Luisetta Mudie.


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