Paediatrics expert: parents should have choice of jab

A professor of paediatrics has backed calls to allow parents a choice of Covid-19 vaccine for younger children, after officials announced that the Sinovac jab would be available for children as young as five.

Dr Agnes Leung, an assistant professor from the Chinese University, made the comments on RTHK’s Hong Kong Today programme on Wednesday, a day after Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the reduction in the minimum age for Sinovac.

“Getting the Covid jab is the only way to protect your children, especially from severe coronavirus infection,” she told RTHK’s Samantha Butler.

“We’re seeing very good data from the western countries for the BioNTech vaccination. It’s highly efficacious, so we can see that more than 90 percent of the children can be protected, and the efficacy data is similar to the adult data.

“And for Sinovac, we are also seeing that children vaccinated with it can command a very good antibody response against the adults, and even more so than their adult counterparts.”

Ahead of Lam’s announcement on Tuesday, the chairman of the Society of Hospital Pharmacists, William Chui, said data from a British study showed that giving younger children one-third of the adult dose of BioNTech is safe and effective, with a booster shot twenty-one days later.

Government advisers had said Sinovac was safe for children as young as three, but had held off on recommending a reduction in the minimum age of 12 for BioNTech, saying they required more data from the manufacturer.