China approves Covid-19 jabs for 3-year olds

Photo: EPA

China announced it had moved a step ahead with its aggressive vaccination against Covid-19, Reuters reported. The country gave a green light for emergency usage on kids of its Sinovac Biotech vaccine. Under the new decision patients aged between 3 and 17 years will be included in the vaccination programmes. Sinovac CEO Yin Weidong confirmed the news in an interview for the state television.

China's mass vaccination drive, which administered 723.5 million doses of vaccines as of 3 June, is currently only open to those aged 18 and above. When Sinovac's vaccine will be offered to younger groups depends on health authorities formulating China's vaccination strategies.

Yin said minors have lower priority for vaccination against the coronavirus compared with the elderly, who face higher risk of severe symptoms after infection. Preliminary results from Phase I and II clinical trials showed the vaccine could trigger immune response in 3 to 17 year-old participants, and most adverse reactions were mild. State-backed pharmaceutical firm Sinopharm, which has two shots using similar technology to Sinovac's product, is also submitting data for clearance in younger groups. A vaccine from CanSino Biologics, adopting a different technique, has entered a Phase II trial involving those aged between 6 and 17. Sinovac has also completed a Phase II clinical trial where participants were injected with a third booster dose after completing two regular shots, Yin said. Participants saw a 10 fold rise in antibody levels compared with previous levels in a week, and 20 fold in half a month, Yin said. He cautioned that Sinovac still needs to complete longer-term observation of antibody duration before it can make recommendation to authorities about when a third dose should be given.

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