China Approves Covid-19 Vaccine for Children 3-17 Years Old

UMMATIMES - China approved the emergency use of Sinovac's Covid-19 vaccine for children from the age of three, Tuesday (8/6). This decision made it the first country to offer injections to children.

Since the coronavirus first emerged in China, the country has largely managed to control the outbreak and has delivered more than 777 million doses of the vaccine. A Sinovac spokesman said the vaccine had been approved for use in children.

"In recent days, the Sinovac vaccine was approved for emergency use in children aged three to 17 years," the spokesperson said.

But the spokesman did not confirm when children could start receiving injections. He said the launch schedule would be decided by the National Health Commission. This is in line with China's current epidemic prevention and control needs and vaccine supply.

"The company has completed early-phase trials of the vaccine in children and adolescents, with results soon to be published in the scientific journal Lancet," the spokesperson said.

Broadcaster CCTV reported over the weekend an unnamed official in the State Council's epidemic response task force said a vaccine had been approved for children. In addition, its safety and effectiveness have been proven.

A spokesman for China's other major vaccine, Sinopharm, said experts had demonstrated its vaccine's effectiveness in children, but did not confirm whether it had been approved for use. Chinese officials say they are aiming to vaccinate 70 percent of the 1.41 billion population by the end of this year.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has approved the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines for emergency use in adults 18 years of age and older. Both injections are given in several countries around the world.

WHO does not currently recommend vaccinating children against the coronavirus. The United States, United Kingdom, Singapore and the European Union have approved the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those aged 12 years. China reported 33 new Covid-19 cases on Tuesday, including 19 in southern Guangdong province where authorities have been battling a local outbreak.