Beijing has reversed course on what would have been the country’s first vaccine mandate following popular outrage
Beijing has withdrawn a planned vaccination mandate which would have made it more difficult for residents to access public places. It announced this on Thursday, in response to the opposition of many people. It was announced Wednesday by Beijing.
Beijing residents no longer have to be vaccinated. They can enter any public venue with a positive Covid test results taken less than 72 hour ago.
This policy, which was set to be in effect from July 11, would ban the unvaccinated and bar them from all theaters, movies, theatres, and gyms. Medical staff, community service personnel, home furnishing workers, express delivery providers, conference attendees and others would need to get the shot and receive an additional boost to their job performance.
While Li Ang of the Beijing Municipal Health Commission insisted there would be exceptions for those who don’t qualify for vaccination, many other countries whose governments initially promised similar exceptions failed to deliver. Nor would the mandate have gotten rid of the city’s testing rules, which require residents to be tested at least once every three days to enter public spaces.
Residents openly questioned the vaccine’s effectiveness against the omicron variant on social media and denounced the proposed mandate as an illegal limitation on their freedom. The study in Denmark found that both Moderna and Pfizer vaccines had a negligible effect against the omicron variation within three months of being administered. However, the scientists didn’t test any Chinese Covid-19 vaccine formulas.
READ MORE China declares another major lockdown
“This reversal demonstrates the power and influence of public opinion,” former Global Times editor Hu Xijin noted on his official Weibo account after the rollback was announced, explaining that while “Chinese society is dominated and governed by government,” they “They were able to withstand public resistance. That means they accept the public’s view of the vaccine mandate as illegal.”
While 90% of China’s population are reportedly fully vaccinated, the mandate was partially intended to push older residents to get their shots – Beijing’s elderly vaccination rate is above 80%, but the continued reluctance of the remaining holdouts has irritated those who blame the unjabbed seniors for lockdowns and other inconvenient policies associated with the country’s Covid Zero strategy.