- The claim: messages circulating in WeChat groups claim that Shenzhen will halt the administration of the first dose of COVID-19 vaccines after June 10 and will only administrate the second dose.
- Shenzhen partially suspended the administration of the first dose to guarantee the second dose injections for those who have received their first jabs, as the booking for the vaccinations have met with an overwhelming response. Administration of the first dose will expectably be resumed in July, said the state health authority.
- Some vaccination sites in Shenzhen are still offering the first dose even though the quota is limited. Some sites have already prioritized or will prioritize administration of the second dose. People who have special needs can still receive their first doses.
- Our ruling: Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
Messages circulating in WeChat groups claim that Shenzhen, a major sub-provincial city in Guangdong, China, will halt the administration of the first COVID-19 vaccine dose and only administer the second dose after June 10, 2021. Such messages were widely disseminated on several social media platforms.
We attempted to contact both national and regional health authorities for enquiries on May 28, 2021. Shenzhen’s Futian district Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (Futian CDC) and Shenzhen Health Commission replied to our enquiries as of the issuance of this report. Staff from Futian CDC said that all the beneficiaries who have received their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine will be prioritized for second doses because of the limited vaccine booking quota. The vaccination centres in Futian district will halt the administration of first doses in the near future. This arrangement does not have a definite timeline but it is estimated that the service will be resumed within a month. The staff added that citizens who need to travel overseas for official purposes can take their first shot.
In addition, CCTV, a Chinese state-owned broadcaster, published a news article on May 28, 2021. In the article, several regional health authorities responded to the purported “suspension of first dose administration.” The health authorities in Hubei, Guangzhou, Xi’an and Wuzhou claimed that the administration of the first dose has not been completely suspended. Instead the arrangement aims to prioritize the second dose injections. The health authority in Liaoning province said that the administration of the first dose will be stalled after June 10, 2021 (except for special cases) to avoid significantly delaying second doses for those who have received their first jabs, and the first dose will be given again once the prioritized second dose administration is finished.
Cui Gang, an officer in the National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, told a press conference on May 31, 2021, “From June 10 to 30, we will strive to finish the vaccination of second doses for those who have received their first shots. People who have special needs, such as those who have to go overseas for official purposes and health workers, can still receive their first doses. After July, we will fully resume the first dose administration and carry out the COVID-19 vaccination arrangement as planned.”
We attempted to book vaccination on June 8, 2021 through iShenzhen, the public services mobile application developed by the Shenzhen government. The booking status, notwithstanding, were either “fully booked” or “no appointments available.” According to the announcements issued by vaccination sites in Shenzhen, some sites still offer the first dose vaccination while some sites have prioritized or plan to prioritize the second doses. The following screenshots of the announcements translate in part as:
(1) “…The vaccine to be administered on June 8 is the one-shot CanSino vaccine. Citizens who have received their first dose of inactivated vaccine should not book this vaccine…”
(2) “…The vaccine offered today is CanSino vaccine (This vaccine is only administered for those who want to take their first shot) …”
(3) “…According to Guangdong government’s instructions, the first shot vaccine should be administered as soon as possible. Due to the limited vaccine supply, citizens should receive the second doses within six to eight weeks after their first dose administration. Thanks for your cooperation.”
(4) “This vaccination site administers the second dose for those aged 18 to 59, as instructed by higher-ups.”
According to various sources, the administration of the first dose will be partially stopped in some cities and provinces including Shenzhen. Some vaccination sites still offer the first dose administration, while some sites have already implemented or will implement “second dose prioritized” policy as of June 8, 2021. The suspension aims to prioritize the beneficiaries due for second dose vaccination. People who have special needs can still receive their first doses, according to state health authority. The first dose vaccinations are expected to be fully resumed after July.
Therefore, we rate the claim as FALSE.
- CCTV, “Health authorities responded to the purported ‘suspension of first dose administration,’” May 28, 2021.
- National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China, the transcript of the press conference on May 31, 2021.
- iShenzhen app, the introduction.