The Washington PostThe Washington Post

How China’s vaccine strategy stoked its looming ‘zero covid’ crisis

By Carolyn Y. Johnson, Cate Cadell and Joel Achenbach

01 Dec 2022 · 9 min read

Editor's Note

China faces the largest protests it has seen in decades. The Post explains how China's resistance to western vaccines, accompanied by an unboosted ageing population, has created a serious problem.

China’s zero-covid pandemic strategy may have saved millions of lives and postponed an inevitable reckoning with the coronavirus. But now the country is staring into the face of a crisis: an implacable virus, an under-immunized population, a stubborn political system locked into vaccine nationalism and a restive citizenry tired of lockdowns.

China’s decision to stick with its own domestically produced vaccines means it has not availed itself of what many experts believe is the most effective and flexible vaccine technology — a potentially consequential move in a country with large numbers of vulnerable people who have never had a booster shot.

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