Govt approves Sinovac use for children as young as 3

The government has approved the use of the Sinovac vaccine for children as young as three years old, but agreed with its advisers that adolescents aged 12 to 17 will first be allowed to get the jab.

A government statement said the health secretary considers that the benefits of approving the lowering of the age limit for Sinovac shots outweigh the risks.

“Doing so can protect them from Covid-19 infection and also enable them to resume normal school and daily life as soon as possible,” the statement read.

Authorities said relevant vaccination arrangements will be announced as soon as possible, and the scheme will be extended to younger children at a later stage.

Speaking after a radio programme, government pandemic adviser David Hui said allowing teenagers aged 12 to 17 to get Sinovac shots will definitely boost the vaccination rate.

Currently, those over 12 can already get the BioNTech jab, but Professor Hui said some parents are concerned about letting teens get that vaccine.

“Even though since we actually reduce the frequency of BioNTech to only one dose [for teenagers], we no longer see any myocarditis. But to some of the parents, they do have this concern. So I think the option of Sinovac to this age group, it will certainly increase the vaccination rate,”Hui said.

“If more than 70 percent of the schoolchildren have already received the vaccinations, they can actually have more freedom to open up, maybe even to full-day school, and also a lot of the extracurricular activities can actually take place,”he added.

Professor Hui said he believes primary school pupils will be allowed to get Sinovac jabs early next year, and the vaccination scheme will later be expanded to kindergarten children.