Children as young as three can take Sinovac: advisers

Government expert advisers have agreed to recommend lowering the age limit for the Sinovac vaccine to children as young as three years-old.

The Advisory Panel on Covid-19 Vaccines made the recommendation after meeting to discuss the safety and efficacy of administering the Sinovac and BioNTech vaccines to younger children.

A government statement published on Monday night said the experts have concluded that Sinovac was safe for those aged between three and 17.

The statement added that the advisers had gone through information provided by Sinovac, real-world data collected on the mainland, as well as initial data from phase three clinical trials in countries like South Africa and Chile.

But for BioNTech, the experts said the government should demand more information from its supplier, Fosun Pharmaceutical.

The government said in response that it welcomes the advisers’ recommendation, adding that the Secretary for Health will make a decision on the matter as soon as possible.

A government spokesman added that officials will continue to follow up and liaise with Fosun Pharmaceutical over the possibility of lowering the age limit for the BioNTech vaccine to those between five and 11 years-old.

Earlier in the day, two medical professionals offered mixed views on whether young children should be allowed to get the Sinovac jab.

While respiratory medicine expert Leung Chi-chiu said the age limit should be lowered because many people around the world have already received the vaccine without rare side effects, the president of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists, William Chui, said Sinovac needs to publish more information on the jab.