More than 70 percent of students at a Shanghai school for the children of businesspeople from Taiwan who are eligible for free COVID-19 vaccination had received their first shot by the time the new semester started last week.
They are the beneficiaries of a city policy that has included residents between 12 and 17 who are from Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan in the voluntary vaccination drive since the start of this month.
The students received the inoculations for free, the same as their local peers. They received domestic vaccines made by either Sinopharm or Sinovac Biotech, with each vaccination involving two shots.
The Shanghai Taiwan Children School said it has 614 students aged between 12 and 17, and 436 had been vaccinated by the end of the weekend, the first in the new semester.
"After the Shanghai municipal government announced that teenagers from Taiwan would be included in the vaccination program, we forwarded the message to our students and their parents," the school's student affairs director said. "Many showed strong willingness."
Most students got inoculated at a vaccination site near the school, accompanied by their parents and teachers, while others opted to go to a vaccination site close to their homes, the director, surnamed Zhang, said.
He said more students will get their first inoculation this weekend, which was a development the school welcomed because the higher the rate of vaccination, the better protected they will be.
Many parents had repeatedly inquired about the possibility of their children being vaccinated, Zhang said.
"They expressed the need to have their children vaccinated in Shanghai," he said, adding that the school had forwarded the requests to the authorities.
Students said they felt relaxed during the vaccination procedure. Some said they had already booked their second shot, which will be administered three to eight weeks after the first.
Liang Pei'en, a 10th grader at the school, got inoculated on Sunday. She said she did not feel any pain when getting the shot.
"My parents received the vaccination in Shanghai and didn't suffer from any side effects," she told China News Service.