Let young children take Sinovac, says govt advisor

The head of a government advisory body on Covid-19 vaccines has proposed allowing children as young as six to take the Sinovac jabs.

Lau Yu-lung said on Tuesday that this would be among ideas for discussion at a meeting of the Scientific Committee on Vaccine Preventable Diseases next week.

Currently in Hong Kong, people aged 18 and above are eligible take the mainland vaccine, while on the mainland anyone aged three or above can do so.

Chile this week also approved the use of Sinovac for those aged 6 and above.

Lau said the efficacy of Sinovac is unquestionable, citing data from more than a hundred young people who took the jab in Hong Kong.

“In terms of safety, everyone knows that hundreds of millions of people worldwide have taken Sinovac. Among them, there should be millions of young people. I don’t think there’s a safety problem,” he said on an RTHK programme.

“Of course, the government needs to go through its statutory procedures, it needs to look at data from Sinovac. I’ve spoken to officials in private, they said they have to speak to lawyers about the administration’s legal responsibilities on this.”

Lau said he noted some young people prefer Sinovac to BioNTech, but he said the vetting procedures are now “too rigid and too careful” and that the government should react more quickly to public demands.

The expert said he believed lowering the age threshold for the Sinovac vaccines would solve “a bottleneck” of the local inoculation drive for young people, with around 60 percent of them having been vaccinated.

The professor said a higher vaccination rate would mean pupils can resume schools fully, saying that the lack of normal classroom sessions have already caused much problems such as mental distress, obesity and learning difficulties.