Vaccination fever in China

We’re surrounded by vaccination fever. Whether it’s about the jab or because of the jab, China’s vaccination programme is in full swing. When it comes to vaccinations for foreigners living in China however, there’s still a lot of uncertainty. The official policy varies from one province to the next. Some do vaccinate foreign nationals, others don’t, and then there’s a third category with ‘no opinion’.

In any case, I’ve had my jab too now. The first dose anyway. I got one of the two best known vaccines (in Asia), which apparently is also one of two most efficient vaccines produced in China.

The Chinese authorities don’t send out personal invitations. We’re all registered via our company. When vaccines become available, they receive a notification, and you go and join the crowds. We haven’t had any confirmed cases in our province for a long time. All the measures regarding face masks and social distancing are still in place, but not enforced when people are queueing. So, everyone just pushes their way in. You might still see a few face masks around, but overall, there’s very little discipline.

When we’ve received our jab, we’re told not to drink any alcohol for the next three days and not to have a shower within the next 24 hours. Are they afraid the vaccine will rinse off? And what about side effects? I didn’t have any. The second jab follows around four weeks later. Once we’re fully vaccinated, with a Chinese vaccine, I’d say there must be some advantages regarding international travel. I can’t wait!

However, it doesn’t look like China’s going to ease travel restrictions any time soon. Two weeks of quarantine upon arrival is still compulsory, in some cities it’s even three weeks, and sometimes it must be followed by several weeks of self-isolation at home.

And why would China hurry to let lots of people back into the country? It’s not like in Thailand for example, where 25-30% of the entire economy depends on international tourism. China never relied on tourism to the same extent, and since the beginning of the pandemic, they’ve been heavily promoting the idea of staycations. It seems to be working out well for the Chinese tourist sector so far.

All in all, this whole thing isn’t over yet, but it certainly feels like there’s light at the end of the tunnel!

Cok Harteveld

General manager Van den Berg Roses China

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