BEIJING (Agencies): Several cities across China have commenced the administration of COVID-19 vaccines specifically designed to target the XBB variant. Experts recommend that eligible individuals promptly receive the vaccine to bolster their protection against the virus.

Local Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in cities such as Shanghai, Tianjin, and Wuhan have issued notices advising residents to avail themselves of COVID-19 vaccines targeting the XBB variant.

The Shanghai CDC, on Monday, recommended vaccines containing XBB variant antigenic components and provided guidance on vaccine registration. The XBB variant remains the primary strain of the local epidemic in China, exhibiting robust immune evasion capabilities and posing a greater risk to vulnerable populations, particularly the elderly, as per the Tianjin CDC.

From October 1 to 31, a total of 7,646 local COVID-19 cases were reported, all attributed to the Omicron variant, with the XBB variant being the most prevalent, according to a report by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) on November 10.

Individuals who have been infected twice may not need vaccination, as natural infection provides strong immunity, stated Lu Hongzhou, head of the Third People’s Hospital of Shenzhen.

The number of elderly patients seeking medical treatment may increase gradually due to their susceptibility to respiratory infections, with a potential peak in December, according to Lu.

COVID-19 vaccines from five Chinese companies, including Walvax Biotechnology Co and CanSino Biologics Inc, have received emergency use approval in China and are reportedly effective against the XBB Omicron subvariant.

A messenger RNA-based vaccine jointly developed by Fudan University, Walvax, and others has been approved for emergency use, providing protection against Omicron XBB.1.5, according to an announcement by the developers on December 1.

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