The number is all the more remarkable given its rollout had a slow start. China only reached its first million doses on March 27 -- two weeks behind the US. But the pace picked up significantly in May, with more than 500 million shots given over the past month, according to data from China's National Health Commission. On Tuesday alone, it administered more than 20 million doses. At that rate, it is likely to exceed 1 billion doses this weekend.
Vaccinating a country of 1.4 billion people against Covid-19 is a massive undertaking. Due to China's successful containment of the coronavirus, many residents initially saw little urgency in getting vaccinated. A history of safety scandals involving domestic vaccines also contributed to public hesitancy. But several recent local outbreaks, including in the northern Anhui and Liaoning provinces and Guangdong in the south, have fueled fears of infection, prompting a rush to get vaccinated in affected regions.