Chinese capital codes buildings in color to increase Covid-19 vaccination levels

Beijing is putting up colored signs on buildings in its financial district to indicate the percentage of workers indoors who have received Covid-19 vaccines, a measure to speed up the rollout of vaccination in the Chinese capital in a context of increased government pressure.

The financial district is leading the campaign to “code green” its buildings, installing green circular signs indicating that more than 80% of the people working in the building have been vaccinated. Yellow notices are intended for people with an immunization rate of 40% to 80%, while red logos indicate that less than 40% of people are protected.

Although no specific sanctions or consequences have been announced for the low vaccination rates, many buildings have organized on-site vaccination campaigns to make it easier for workers to get vaccinated. The increased efforts are adding additional pressure on local officials and employers, fearing that the delay in vaccination rates could jeopardize the reopening of the economy.

China has set a target of vaccinating 40% of its total population, or some 560 million people, by the end of June. Tens of millions of workers in state-owned enterprises, party members and students are required to be vaccinated unless they provide a medical reason, while the government offers incentives including small gifts and walks free at vaccination appointments to encourage vaccinations.

The office signs build on a system introduced by China last year that requires people to display a code green, indicating they are at low risk of being exposed to Covid-19, before being allowed to enter almost all public places, including restaurants, stores, and hotels. The rating comes from built-in smartphone apps designed by China’s two largest internet companies that extract personal data from phone operators and government departments.

China has administered around 4.5 million doses of the vaccine on average each day over the past week. That’s nearly 5 million a day needed to reach an additional 417 million people, a figure that will allow it to reach its vaccination goal before July.

Although the rate is significantly faster than the average 3 million doses per day administered in the United States, it is a much smaller proportion of the population. Only five doses per 100 people have been administered so far in China, behind 56 per 100 people in Israel and 26 per 100 in the United States, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

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