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China authorized the emergency use of Sinovac Biotech Ltd.’s coronavirus vaccine for children, becoming the first major country to grant approval for those as young as three.
The move comes amid reports that young people with the disease could be as infectious as adults. Singapore, Hong Kong and some U.S. states have so far authorized the use of Covid-19 vaccines against children 12 years and above.
It’s not yet confirmed when this age group will receive their first doses of the vaccine in China. Phase I and Phase II research, involving several hundred participants, showed that the Sinovac vaccine is as safe and effective for children as it is for adults, the company’s Chief Executive Officer Yin Weidong told state broadcaster China Central Television on Friday.
“The same vaccine, the same amount, and the same process can be used for children aged between 3 and 17,” Yin said. ”China’s health authority will push forward vaccine use for different age groups in an orderly manner based on China’s epidemic needs and population structure.”
The World Health Organization approved Sinovac’s vaccine as part of its emergency use listing on Tuesday for people aged 18 and older. The authorization granted to the Sinovac shot is the second given to a Chinese Covid vaccine, after state-owned Sinopharm Group Co. secured WHO’s nod for emergency use in early May.
— With assistance by Lucille Liu