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BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s National Health Commission (NHC) will roll out the second COVID-19 vaccine booster shots for high-risk groups and elderly people over 60 years old, it said in a statement on Wednesday.

The time gap between the first and second booster shots will be six months, NHC said, adding people who can take the second booster shot will include those with severe existing diseases and those with low immunity.

Right before drastically easing its stringent COVID-19 prevention measures earlier this month, China has pushed to speed up vaccinations for those aged above 60 years.

People aged 60 and above who have received two doses inched up from 85.6% in August to 86.4% in November, while the booster rate rose from 67.8% to 68.2% over the same period, according to official data.

It shortened the time gap between basic vaccination and booster shots to three months for the elderly late last month.

(Reporting by Beijing newsroom; Writing by Liz Lee and Albee Zhang; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)

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