China approves vaccine for children as young as 3 years old
China authorised the emergency use of Sinovac Biotech’s coronavirus vaccine for children, becoming the first major country to do so for those as young as three. Until now, the immunisation drive was limited to people aged 18 and above.
In an official statement to state media, the company’s chairman Yin Weidong announced the decision on Friday. The government is yet to announce an exact date when it will start administrating the jab to kids. “When Sinovac’s vaccine will be offered to younger groups depends on health authorities formulating China’s inoculation strategies,” local media reported Yin as saying.
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 authorised the use of Covid-19 vaccines against children 12 years and above.
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.
To date, Sinovac has provided more than 600 million doses of finished and semi-finished vaccine products to nearly 40 countries and regions including China.