China has begun to urgently promote its Covid-19 vaccination campaign among minors as authorities try to control a surge in cases driven by the Delta variant of the coronavirus.
More than 450 people have been infected in two weeks, with the latest outbreak spreading to at least 18 provinces and sending millions into lockdown.
As many as 71 new domestic cases were reported on Wednesday for the previous day, the highest daily count in China since January.
China is scrambling to contain the new outbreak, which started from the eastern city of Nanjing in the third week of July, but has since triggered pockets of resurgence in cities such as Beijing and Wuhan where the coronavirus first emerged in late 2019.
Cities such as Nanjing, Zhengzhou and Wuhan have ordered mass testing of all residents - in Nanjing's case, the fourth round of testing is currently ongoing.
Authorities feel vaccinating minors could help in containing the outbreak.
A vaccination campaign for minors aged between 12 and 17 should be expanded across the country, an education ministry notice issued on Tuesday said.
Vaccination should be promoted to all eligible students below the age of 18, the notice, quoted by official media, said.
The anti-Covid jabs should be administered both with consent of the students or their guardians, the notice added.
China administered about 19.2 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines on August 2, bringing the total shots given to 1.689 billion doses, data from the national health commission (NHC) said on Tuesday - the highest number in the world.
A few Chinese provinces had announced vaccination plans for the 12-17 age group in July, but the campaign hadn't really taken off among teenagers.