After Delta outbreaks, country aims at people in front-line professions, including medical workers; people with weaker immune systems; those age 60 or older; and travelers going to countries deemed at high risk.

Chinese authorities are rolling out third shots of coronavirus vaccines for high-risk groups in at least 10 regions, according to state media, as the country races to meet its goal of fully vaccinating 80 percent of its population by the end of the year, the New York Times reports.

After a series of outbreaks of the Delta variant, Wang Huaqing, chief expert for China’s immunization program at the Chinese Center for Disease Control, recommended last month that additional shots be administered to people in front-line professions, including medical workers; people with weaker immune systems; those age 60 or older; and travelers going to countries deemed at high risk.

Chinese health officials have said that further studies were still needed to determine whether the rest of the population would benefit from getting an additional shot.

By Sunday, more than 40,000 people in Hubei, the province encompassing Wuhan where the virus first emerged, had received booster shots, according to state media reports. In the northeastern province of Heilongjiang, which had a flare-up of the Delta variant last month, local health officials said that people who got the booster shot would see their government-issued health codes upgraded to reflect their strengthened immune status.

Last month, China announced that it had fully inoculated 1 billion people, or about 71 percent of its population of 1.4 billion. The country has administered 2.21 billion doses, more than twice that of India, which is ranked second for shots given, according to Our World in Data, which tracks vaccination figures.

Despite its high vaccination rate, China has shown no signs of abandoning its “zero Covid” strategy, and has instead continued to employ a mix of stringent border controls, mass testing and snap lockdowns to tame outbreaks.

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