Age limit for BioNTech vaccine lowered to 12

Children as young as 12 will be allowed to get the BioNTech vaccine, authorities announced on Thursday, adding that they will give more details on the arrangements early next week.

In a statement, the government said Health Secretary Sophia Chan made the decision to lower the minimum age for the jab from 16 years old to 12, after taking into account the views of an expert panel on Covid vaccines.

“Having regard to the advice of the Advisory Panel, and having considered the threat to public health posed by Covid-19, the SFH considered that the benefits of lowering the age limit for receiving the Comirnaty vaccine outweigh the risks,” the statement read, using the brand name of the mRNA-based coronavirus jab.

“Not only can it protect adolescents from Covid-19 infection, it can also enable them to resume normal school and daily life as soon as possible.”

One of the members of the expert panel, David Hui, had earlier quoted data from the manufacturer that the vaccine could offer 100 percent protection for those between the ages of 12 and 15.

The Chinese University academic said children in this age range also had more antibodies than people in the 16-25 age group, adding that they experienced normal side effects.

Hong Kong’s other Covid vaccine, Sinovac, is available for people aged 18 and up.