In an absurd move, China decided to ban unvaccinated people from public spaces, including schools, hospitals and shopping centres.
The issue has taken on added urgency in China this week as several cities in Jiangxi and Zhejiang provinces announced mandates that would bar unvaccinated people from public places.
The tough new rules, which follow the emergence of the highly contagious Delta variant across Asia, will be imposed on numerous second-tier cities in a possible marker of what is to come for the whole country.
China has a national target of inoculating 64% of its 1.4 billion population by end of the year, and new measures suggest high levels of coercion.
A handful of smaller cities in Jiangxi, Shanxi, Zhejiang, Fujian and Hebei provinces announced that if people fail to have their jabs, they are likely to be banned from entering schools, childcare, supermarkets, government buildings, hospitals, hotels, banks, aged care facilities, wet markets and government-owned premises.
These local governments say officials will put a strong emphasis on monitoring non-vaccine recipients, who are required to obtain an exemption letter from a hospital.
As of Tuesday, China had administered more than 1.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines, the National Health Commission said, without specifying the number of people vaccinated.
With the new measures designed to target unvaccinated individuals, the nationwide inoculation campaign seemed to have moved in a different direction, one that focuses less on rewarding the vaccinated, but more on punishing the unvaccinated.