Headhunter Candice knows the COVID-19 infections engulfing Beijing and much of China will soon hit her home of Shenzhen city, but she would rather face it without a vaccine booster, saying she fears potential side effects more than the virus.

The 28-year-old took two doses of Sinovac's CoronaVac last year, hoping it would make travel easier, but she has since grown more skeptical, citing stories from friends about health impacts, as well as similar health warnings on social media.

"I don't trust it," she said, speaking on the condition that only her first name be used. Candice said she has refused to participate in recent vaccination drives organized by her local community.