This file photo taken on April 12, 2021 shows people receiving the China National Biotec Group (CNBG) COVID-19 coronavirus vaccine in China's southwestern Chongqing. China has now administered more than a billion doses of vaccines, the country's health authority said on June 20, 2021, more than a third of the number given worldwide. Image Credit: AFP

Beijing: The number of COVID-19 jabs administered in China has passed the one billion mark, health officials said Sunday, more than a third of the doses given worldwide.

The announcement by the National Health Commission comes after the number of shots administered globally surpassed 2.5 billion on Friday, according to an AFP count from official sources.

It is unclear what percentage of China’s population has now been inoculated.

Authorities have set an ambitious target of fully vaccinating 40 per cent of the country’s nearly 1.4 billion people by the end of this month.

Some provinces are offering vaccines for free to encourage people to roll up their sleeves. Residents in central Anhui province have been given free eggs, while some living in Beijing have received shopping coupons.

A recent outbreak of the more contagious Delta variant of the virus in the southern city of Guangzhou has also served as a wake-up call for many dragging their feet.

China reported 23 new coronavirus cases Sunday.

The country has four conditionally approved vaccines - Sinovac, two vaccines from Sinopharm and CanSino.

China is expected to produce more than three billion vaccine doses this year, state news agency Xinhua reported in April.

Health authorities have not said when China will reach herd immunity or what proportion of its vaccine doses will be sold abroad.