China is battling the current Covid 19 outbreaks. Hong Kong just experienced its fifth Corona wave.
According to the latest figures from Hong Kong, the problems’ magnitude lies mainly in low vaccination coverage rates and low “natural immunity” from previous SARS-CoV-2 infections due to the initially successful “zero covid policy,” a U.S.-China official study now shows.
Corona‘s study shows why third vaccination is needed.
Experts from the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC/Atlanta/Georgia) and the corresponding Chinese agencies (Chinese CDC/Peking) published their reports on their websites on Friday. The information is about the background of the Omikron outbreak in Hong Kong between Jan. 6 and March 21 of this year, which is the most up-to-date epidemiological data.
“On January 6, an omicron cluster in Hong Kong (…) was detected as the fifth wave of Covid 19 cases. This wave peaked on March 4, with 8,764 Covid-19 cases per million population, 1,049,959 cases, and 5,906 deaths reported by health authorities between January 6 and March 21. During this period, Covid-19 mortality in Hong Kong (37.7 deaths per million population) was at its highest internationally since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic,” wrote Dallas Smith (CDC/USA) and co-authors. The omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2 was responsible.
Two factors identified
The events in Hong Kong appear to have been due primarily to two factors. First to the low vaccination coverage rate in the population: by Dec. 23, 2021, 67 percent of vaccine-eligible people in Hong Kong had received at least one dose of the vaccines, 64 percent had received two partial vaccinations, and five percent had received a booster dose.
Among those over 60, these percentages were 52, 49, and seven percent, respectively. Among those over 60, vaccination coverage rates dropped off more and more with age. For example, only 48 percent of those aged 70 to 79 had received at least one dose, 45 percent had received two partial vaccinations, and seven percent had received a booster. Among those over 80, first-time vaccinations were as low as 20 percent. Only 18 percent had received two vaccinations, and only two percent had received a booster. However, immunity was possible solely through vaccination because of the authorities’ official “zero-covid strategy.”
The study results should highlight the need for continued vaccination protection against Covid-19 in the elderly population dramatically – and probably worldwide. According to the authors, “Between January and March 2022, the number of Covid-19 deaths increased in Hong Kong, with 96 percent occurring in the 60-plus age group. The risk of death was 20-fold lower among the fully vaccinated than unvaccinated.”
According to researchers, the willingness to receive the Covid 19 vaccine in Hong Kong had been so low among the elderly before the latest “wave” for now is not yet clear. However, in June 2021, an opinion poll found that 56.8 percent of participants were skeptical about opposing immunization.
In addition, the strategy of the Chinese authorities to suppress the pandemic as much as possible from the beginning may also have played a role in the fact that the Omikron variant hit the population unprotected in a high proportion. According to the scientists, “The aggressive ‘zero-covid strategy’ that had been successful before Omikron may have contributed to this negligence.”
Thus, it was only the current crisis that led to a change in opinion: then, by March 21 of this year, 81 percent of 60- to 69-year-olds in Hong Kong had received two doses of vaccine, 69 percent of 70- to 79-year-olds and 39 percent of those over 80. Despite this, the very elderly remained relatively unprotected until now.
- source: k.at/picture: pixabay.com
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